The regulatory framework encompasses international best practice and international standards, particularly standards from IEC Technical Committee 31, Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres.

UNECE Offers Blueprint for Explosion Risk Regulations

The publication issued on March 22 will help jurisdictions that lack them align their national regs with internationally harmonized best practices, the organization says.

A new booklet from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers help to countries that want to address the hazards in environments with a high risk of explosions, including mines, refineries, mills, and chemical plants. The "Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used in Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere" will serve as a blueprint for countries that lack such regulations and will help others align theirs with internationally harmonized best practices, according to UNECE.

The equipment to be used in these environments must be designed, installed, and maintained so it does not create sparks or open flames, and this testing and certification can be expensive. Manufacturers of the equipment often must test and certify their products for each country they enter, and this may not be cost-effective for smaller markets, UNECE notes, which may leave state-of-the-art equipment unavailable in such markets. The booklet will help to cure this situation.

The regulatory framework it explains is based on and encompasses international best practice and international standards, particularly standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 31, Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres. It formally endorses the International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres (the IECEx System) as the recommended global best practice model for verifying conformity to international standards.

Visit www.iec.ch for more information about Technical Committee 31.

"The UNECE framework regulation builds on the positive experience of multilateral schemes for assessing conformity to standards, such as the IECEx. Under these schemes, testing and certification are carried out through agreed procedures and by peer assessment," said Uwe Klausmeyer, a German winner of the IEC Lord Kelvin Award for his work in standardization. "These systems are transparent, fully democratic and self-financing."

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