IEC Ex 02 International Certification Scheme

In addition to the preparation of International Standards, the IEC facilitates the operation of Conformity Assessment Schemes. One such scheme is the IEC Ex 02 Scheme.

The IECEx 02 scheme is a single global certification scheme based on the International Electrotechnical Commission's international standards.

The IEC Ex Scheme comprises the following two Global Certification Programs:

  1. The IEC Ex Certified Equipment Program
  2. The IEC Ex Certified Service Facilities Program

This IEC Ex Program is an International Certification Scheme covering product that meets the requirements of International Standards prepared by TC 31 e.g. IEC 60079 series.

Scheme Objective

The objective of the IEC Ex Scheme is to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres, whilst maintaining the required level of safety resulting in:

  • Reduced testing and certification costs to manufacturer,
  • Reduced time to market,
  • International confidence in the product assessment process,
  • One international database listing,
  • Maintaining International Confidence in equipment and services covered by IEC Ex Certification.

The IEC Ex Certified Equipment Program provides both:

  1. A single International Certificate of Conformity that requires manufacturers to successfully complete:-
    • Testing and assessment of samples for compliance with Standards,
    • Assessment and auditing of manufacturers premises,
    • On-going surveillance audits of manufacturers premises.


  2. A "fast-track" process for countries where regulations still require the issuing of national Ex Certificates or approval. This is achieved by way of global acceptance of IEC Ex equipment Assessment and Test Reports. Certificates issued by the IEC Ex Certified Equipment Program are issued as "Electronic Certificates" are live on the IEC Ex Website ( This enables full public access for viewing and printing.

2. The IEC Ex Certified Service Facilities Program

This IEC Ex Program is an International Certification Scheme that covers the assessment and the on-site audit of organizations that provide a repair and overhaul service to the Ex industry. Like the IEC Ex Certified Equipment Program, only “Electronic Certificates” are issued via the “On-Line” system thereby giving industry full access to both the viewing and printing of certificates.

Similarities between IEC Ex & ATEX Approval

Under the IEC 60079 series, IEC Ex and ATEX certificates cover the approval of products and equipment to the same IEC based standards, assuming that the products and equipment have been approved to the latest standards. In some countries of the world it is considered that IEC Ex certification, which complies with the ISO 5 system, is a superior form of approval, and that ATEX is not regarded in the same light, as it involves “self certification”. It is true to say that under the ATEX 94/9/EC Directive it is possible for manufacturers to have Category 3 (Zone 2) apparatus certified when the type testing was not carried out, and the corresponding test reports were not written by an independent third party Ex Notified Body. In such cases however, a third party Ex Notified Body is still required to provide the ATEX Certificate of Conformity, but the responsibility for the safety of the product rests entirely with the manufacturer. Many manufacturers choose to have type tests conducted by the Ex Notified Body, so it is not possible to generalise and say that all Category 3, Zone 2 products certified under the requirements of the ATEX 94/9/Ec directive are “self certified”. Furthermore, this method of certification cannot be applied to Category 1 (Zone 0) or Category 2 (Zone 1) apparatus. The method of certification allowed for Zone 2 (Category 3) apparatus is not a new idea, this has been the case before the ATEX directive became a compulsory force in the EC, but because the practice was already in existence for quite some time, and without any real difficulties being experienced, this was subsequently included within the parameters of ATEX.

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