Is USA certified equipment accepted in Australia?
North American certified equipment can be acceptable for use in Australia but first it requires engineering assessment to determine whether it offers an equivalent level of safety.
The Australian Standard that dictates the design and selection of electrical equipment in hazardous areas (EEHA) is AS/NZS 60079.14:2017. Clause 188.8.131.52 of this standard allows for the selection of equipment with third party certification that is not according to AS/NZS or IEC standards, where using a suitably certified alternative is not practical for some reason.
The justification for the use of such equipment must be made by the person(s) in control of the installation, or their nominee. One way of demonstrating justification is in the form of a Conformity Assessment Document (CAD), which is a comparison of the:
- Standards to which the equipment has been certified to, against Australian or International equivalents; and
- The scheme the equipment has been certified under, against the ANZEx or IECEx schemes. Assessing factors such as quality management systems, surveillance and testing requirements.
The concepts and fundamental objectives of explosion-protection techniques are equivalent between IEC and North American Standards. While some North American standards simply adopt the IEC standards with national deviations (e.g. ANSI/ISA/UL 60079-0), the content and structure of others are significantly different. The competent person/body conducting the conformity assessment will compare the relevant standards to determine whether the equipment provides a similar level of safety to an IECEx or ANZEx certified item.
North American equipment is certified by Nationally Recognised Test Laboratories (NRTL); such as FM Approvals or Underwriters Laboratories, which are private-sector organisations that have been accredited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to perform testing and certification of products.
North American certification programs include all of the elements required for a Type 5 Certification Scheme (IECEx and ANZEx are Type 5 schemes). This means that the evidence of a listing or a certificate will enable the Standards used to be determined. This also shows that testing, inspections and quality control measures are aligned, allowing for a Conformity Assessment Document to be prepared in most cases.
So, the answer to the question is a qualified “yes.” The use of North American certified equipment in Australia is possible, but it is limited to situations where the use of a suitably certified alternative is not practical and requires engineering assessment to demonstrate that it offers an equivalent level of safety. We love Conformity Assessment. Should you find yourself in need of one for North American or other non-IECEx certified equipment, please drop us a line, we’d be very happy to help out.