CompEx – an accredited international competency scheme

CompEx Operations Manager Martin Jones explains how the CompEx Scheme has been driving the highest standards for assuring workplace safety for 25 years.

Back to the Future
Martin Jones
This year, 28 May sees the 25th anniversary of the launch of the CompEx Scheme, an initiative led by industry for industry, to enhance awareness and workplace safety procedures and various protection concepts for equipment designed for use in explosive atmospheres.

The scheme has always embraced industry best practice with in-country regulations and references, the IEC 60079 Standards in this regard. Combinations of modules have been developed to address electrical safety in workplaces containing gas and vapours, fuel, water with recent modules for mechanical (non-electrical), application design and responsible persons. Recent developments have also seen the US NEC 500/505 Code of Practice and API 500/505 Recommended Practice for offshore installations being added.

Back in 2007, to give confidence to the industry that supports the use of CompEx Certified staff and contract staff, JT Limited, the CompEx Certification Body, set a strategy to gain international accreditation for the scheme against the recognised international standard ISO/IEC 17024: 2012 Conformity assessment – ‘General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons’. This accreditation demonstrates technical competence is in place for a defined scope as detailed in the accreditation certification . This was originally achieved against the 2003 standard back in 2010 and upgraded to the 2012 standard as one of the first certification bodies to achieve the new standard in early 2014. Since 2010, JT Limited have undergone eight years of witnessed assessments by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), who are registered under the International Accreditation Forum, at various licensed CompEx Centres worldwide, to confirm that the CompEx Scheme meets the highest levels of professionalism, integrity, impartiality and maintains the scheme’s currency in terms of industry expectations.

The unique combination of knowledge assessment and practical assessment of candidates to an industry benchmark has created a global core competency scheme which serves users worldwide across four continents. From 2007 onwards, the scheme has grown significantly on an international scale and now has 60 centres licensed worldwide to deliver various CompEx modules. To date, over 72,000 candidates have been certified under the scheme in the 25 years of its existence.

Unrivalled in its breadth and depth, the CompEx Scheme continues to provide industry with local access to core competency validation. This assists engineering management and responsible persons with their own competency management programmes to help to maintain workplace safety and protect the expensive capital assets therein and will continue to deliver the needs of the users into the future.

This proactive approach with both the users and the regulators by JT Limited, the CompEx Certification Body, will see the development of future modules, where required, to meet the changing pace of the working environment, to ensure persons working in workplaces containing explosive atmospheres have the competencies in place to safely install, inspect, maintain and manage all the new equipment and associated technology in a professional manner.


The CompEx Scheme is the recognised global scheme for the protection of oil, gas and chemical workers in both offshore and onshore activities. The scheme assesses the competency of employees and contract staff who are working in environments with the potential risk of explosive atmospheres. Developed by the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association (EEMUA) and JT Limited, the CompEx Certification Body is accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17024 : 2012.