U.S. Coast Guard updates electrical regulations for offshore hazardous locations
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has published amendments to the rules governing electrical equipment used ‘offshore’ in hazardous locations. These changes have the potential to significantly affect builders and suppliers of equipment used on all gas and oil rigs, mobile offshore drilling units and offshore supply vessels. The date at which the new regulations go into effect is April; 2nd 2018, so equipment manufacturers and suppliers therefore have approximately three years to comply with these new regulations and apply them to their business.
Currently, the USCG permits electrical equipment to be used on MODU, OSV, and similar vessels or installations operating in the OCS after it has been certified by any ‘independent laboratory’ to 46 CFR 110.15-1. This has now been superseded by a requirement that all such equipment must be certified or listed in accordance with either National Regulations or the IECEx Scheme (The USCG does not permit the use of equipment certified solely under ATEX Directive 94/9/EC). As a lot of equipment being supplied in the U.S. Offshore Continental Shelf was ATEX, a significant amount of equipment may need to be recertified to IECEx, particularly ATEX Category 3 equipment, which was often self-certified or certified by test laboratories that were not IECEx accredited.
Full assembly and installation records required
Builders of rigs, skids and installations are additionally affected by changes as all assemblies and constructions must have a detailed plan (or technical file) for all hazardous area classifications and the equipment installed therein, including cables. All hazardous locations must have plans, showing the extent and classification of all hazardous locations, including equipment specifications such as name and model number, installation details, and a certificate of testing by an independent laboratory or an IECEx Certificate of Conformity. Parameters of intrinsically safe systems must also be demonstrated and adhered to. Software such as ‘iEx’ has been constructed specifically to address this purpose.
ExVeritas is a U.S. Coast Guard accepted independent laboratory for testing electrical equipment for hazardous locations.
U.S. Coast Guard has determined that ExVeritas meets the requirements set forth in Title 46 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 159. The facilities of ExVeritas are recognized to certify electrical equipment for hazardous locations as set forth in 46 CFR Subparts 111.105, 111.106 and 111.108. In addition, The U.S. Coast Guard will recognize ExVeritas certifications to the following standards: IEC 60079-0, IEC 60079-1, IEC 60079-2, IEC 60079-5, IEC 60079-6, IEC 60079-7, IEC 60079-11, IEC 60079-13, IEC 60079-15, IEC 60079-18 and IEC 60079-25.
ExVeritas can be found on the Coast Guard Maritime Information Exchange (CGMIX) website. To access CGMIX, please browse: http://cgmix.uscg.mil/
ExVeritas provide a full range of Ex Certification including IECEx and are listed as an accepted test laboratory by the USCG.