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Will your plant be one of the random Hazardous Area compliance audits conducted by the ESO?

The Electrical Safety Office is currently conducting random Hazardous Area audits throughout industry. 

The Electrical Safety Act (QLD) requires all “new” Hazardous Area installations to have a Hazardous Area Audit – completed by an accredited Hazardous Area auditor – and the installation found “compliant” prior to energisation. Details of audits (both compliant and non-compliant) are required to be submitted to the Electrical Safety Office. 

To become accredited, the auditors need to go through a process to display skills, knowledge, training and experience to demonstrate suitability for the role. Audits ensure that all hazardous area installations are safe and compliant to AS/NZS 3000 and AS/NZS 60079 suite of standards. (Read our previous article here). 

The Electrical Safety Office is currently conducting random Hazardous Area audits throughout the industry, looking for non-compliances to ensure that all industry or plant that may have hazardous areas in Queensland remain safe and compliant. 

Outcomes of these audits could range from the following; – 

  • A simple verbal notification to fix minor discrepancies 
  • An official “Improvement Notice” being issued 
  • Penalties that can be imposed through the ACT 
  • In extreme cases plant closure 

Bluefield believes it’s important to give your hazardous area a general health check to ensure that your hazardous areas have all the necessary requirements as enforced by the Electrical Safety Act and relative standards to display compliance.  We’re currently working with clients to implement a software solution that stores relevant Verification Dossier information in a central place with ease of access and a streamlined method of managing electronic hazardous area inspections. 

The Verification Dossier is considered as a Live document and is a collection of all documentation related to the Hazardous Areas and the installed equipment within.  

The following is an example of information that may be found in the Verification Dossier and what a “General Health Check” may consist of to demonstrate compliance: 

  • Looking through the Verification Dossier to ensure that all information required for that site or installation is accurate, current and relevant. 
  • Ensuring that the Hazardous Area Classification is still true for the installation; over time many changes can occur on site that may have an effect on the classification, such as: 
  • Structures built or removed that may change ventilation 
  • Equipment changed out that may affect sources of release 
  • Process changes that may affect sources of release 
  • Introducing or changing chemicals that may have different flammable properties 
  • Combustible dust areas that may not have been picked up in previous classifications 
  • All relevant Safety Data Sheets (from the supplier) are available and current for all chemicals on site 
  • Checking the Ex register to ensure complete and concise entries for all installed certified equipment and circuits in relation to  
  • TAG numbers 
  • Equipment details 
  • Certification 
  • Location 
  • Area details 
  • Ensuring the correct issue of Certificates of Conformity for each item of installed certified equipment on site 
  • Ensuring a Conformity Assessment Document in place for any equipment that is not appropriately certified for use in Australia that may be installed on site 
  • Ensuring that any necessary calculations are in place for the following; – 
  • IS loop calculations 
  • Ex e power distribution details 
  • Ex d thermal distribution details 
  • Ex p and Ex v purge and pressurisation details 
  • Ensuring all operator manuals from the OEM are available 
  • Ensuring all general arrangement drawings and equipment drawings showing dimensions etc. are available  
  • Ensuring all cable schedules, line diagrams and electrical schematic drawings are available and accurate 
  • Ensuring all relevant process diagrams such as P&ID’s and process flow sheets are in place and accurate 
  • Ensuring all Mandatory AS/NZS 3000 tests and checks from the initial installation have been filed with acceptable results  
  • Ensuring commissioning plan with all ITP’s, ITR’s and ITC’s are in place from original commissioning  
  • Ensuring that inspection sheet templates are available and all previous inspections have been filed with evidence of actions carried out for all non-compliances found 
  • Ensuring that mandatory audit reports are available for all electrical installations on site from an accredited auditor 
  • Ensuring that competencies of all personnel responsible for classification, design, installation etc for the hazardous areas are available. 
  • Ensuring that there is a maintenance schedule in place outlining maintenance and inspection activities, this may consist of: 
  • Asset Management plans 
  • Job plans 
  • Work instructions etc. 
  • Ensuring that all overhaul and repair documentation is available for any equipment that has been sent out for overhaul or repair as it can only be completed by workshops accredited to AS/NZS 3800. 
  • Any photographs that may have been taken off the installed equipment 
  • Any other information that may be relevant to the installation 

Bluefield is experienced in carrying out full Hazardous Area Strategies for clients with these installations areas on site to ensure that they can be confident that they have compliance and a high level of safety.  You can visit our website here, and read some of our previous Hazardous Areas articles here and here.