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There are various authorities in Australia and New Zealand concerned with the safety of electrical installations in hazardous areas. These include the electrical regulatory authorities, departments of mines, departments of labour and industry and the insurance industry.

The authorities’ needs for appropriate Standards are catered for through their membership of committees such as Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committees EL-014, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas and EL-023, Electrical Equipment in Coal Mines, which prepare Standards that take into account the special conditions and risks that exist in hazardous areas. However, some forty years ago there was seen to be a need for these authorities to participate in a national certification scheme.

During the early 1960s Standards Australia set up an approvals type scheme for Ex equipment, referred to in later years as the P3 scheme which operated under the direction of the Standards Australia P-003 Committee. Committee P-003, Certification of Explosion-Protection Electrical Equipment, was the Standards Australia Committee responsible for considering applications for certification and for authorizing the issue of Certificates of Compliance or Statements of Opinion. It also advised regulatory authorities and industry on matters relating to the application of Australian Standards to electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas.   This committee comprised representatives from State electrical and mining regulatory authorities.

Under this Scheme the Committee met approximately every two months to consider applications using test reports and, in most instances, samples to arrive at a decision.

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