Notes on The IECEx International Certification System
(see also IECEx page and UL notes on IECEx System)

In addition to the preparation of International Standards, the IEC facilitates the operation of Conformity Assessment Systems. One such System is the IECEx System, comprising the following

  1. The IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme

  2. The IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme

  3. The IECEx Conformity Mark Licensing System

  4. The IECEx Certified Persons Scheme

For up to date information, use the links above, or the IEC site. The following is retained for historical information. 

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HAZLOC INC. provided the following information (in July 1998) on:

Equipment for use in hazardous locations must normally be certified by a recognized certification body in the country where it is to be installed.  One exception to this is in the European Community where, if a certificate for equipment is received from a certifying body (known in Europe as a “notified body”), it must be accepted by all of the other member countries.

Since the free trade agreement between USA and Canada was signed, there is also an agreement between USA and Canada whereby CSA approval can be accepted in USA and UL approval can be accepted in Canada.

However, most of the equipment for export is presently covered by a number of memorandums of understanding (MOU’s) between two certifying bodies.  For example, CSA have an agreement with Laboratoire Central des Industries Electriques (LCIE) in France.  This agreement allows CSA to assess equipment against the European Standards (CENELEC Standards) and send a report to LCIE.  This report is then reviewed by LCIE and if they agree, the equipment receives a European certificate.  The reverse is also true, LCIE can assess a piece of equipment to the Canadian Standard and submit a report to CSA.

Similar  MOU’s exist between CSA and FM,  FM and Physikalisch-Tcchnische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany and between UL and Danmarks Elektriske Materielkontrol (DEMCO) in Denmark.

Although these MOU’s are working, they do not solve all of the problems of international trade because they only work between North America and Europe.  However, IEC have devised a scheme that will be effective worldwide!

The aim of the IEC scheme is to facilitate international trade in this field by allowing a manufacturer to get certification from one body which will automatically be accepted in all member countries. There will be one submission, one set of tests and one certification mark.

There are two essential criteria for participation in the scheme.  First, the country must adopt the IEC Standards.  Second, they must agree to accept the IEC certification mark as equivalent to that of one of their own certification bodies.

Until the countries are able to fully comply with these criteria, there will be a transitional period.  During this period, the member countries are allowed to have “deviations” from the  IEC Standards.  However they must try to eliminate these deviations as soon as possible.  In the meantime, each member “Accepted Certification Body” (ACB) will be permitted to issue a report on the equipment which must be accepted by any other member ACB without repeating any of the tests already performed.  This eliminates the repetition of testing in each country.  However, the equipment must still receive a certificate from the country where it is to be installed.

When the countries have fulfilled all of the criteria, they will then be permitted to authorize the use of the IEC Certification mark on the equipment they have certified and this mark must be accepted by all member countries without any further investigation.

The following is a list of the countries which have joined this scheme to date:

Australia Canada China Denmark
France  Germany  Hungary  Italy
Korea  Netherlands  Norway Romania
Russia Slovenia South Africa Sweden
Switzerland United Kingdom Yugoslavia
There is one obvious omission from this list – USA!  They are still considering their options.  One impediment to their membership is that they have a large number of inspection authorities (every State, County and City may have its own electrical inspector) and it will be difficult to convince each one of them to accept the IEC mark.

If you have any concerns about the position of the US National Committee on this matter, contact ANSI (fax No. 212-398-0023), for further information.

The above information was provided by John Bossert of HAZLOC INC. in July 1998. He may be reached at (see also IECEx page)

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Updated Dec. 8, 2011