Clarification of what activities that only can be carried out by certified personnel, according to EU 517/2014
The Norwegian GIS User Group has received a lot of questions concerning which activities related to components filled with SF6 that only can be performed by personnel certified according to EU 517/2014. EU 517/2014 is now implemented as a part of Norwegian law, see information (in Norwegian) from the Norwegian Environment Agency. The EU regulation (in English) is here. The User Group has studied the law in detail, and our interpretation, performed in cooperation with the Norwegian Environment Agency, is provided below.
The regulation states that the following activities can only be performed by certified personnel:
- Installation, service, repair and maintenance of SF6-filled electrical components, whenever this includes assembling or opening components, sub-components or circuits that contain or shall contain SF6.
- Recovery (collection and storage) of SF6 from components and sub-components.
- Decommissioning/discarding of SF6-filled components and sub-components.
In practice this means that, among other things, the following activities can only be performed by certified personnel:
- Work that includes intervention or opening of SF6-filled compartments or systems that contain or shall contain SF6.
- Filling and topping up with SF6.
- Decommissioning/discarding of hermetically sealed SF6-insulated medium voltage equipment, e.g., RMUs.
- Measuring of SF6 purity/quality.
- Repair of SF6-leakages.
The following activities are among those that can be performed by non-certified personnel:
- Switching operations with SF6-filled switchgear.
- External maintenance of SF6-filled switchgear, e.g., cleaning and painting.
- Externally connecting or disconnecting cables, lines, busbars or other conductors to SF6-filled components such as switchgear, RMUs and other hermetically sealed equipment.
- Work on external operating mechanism of SF6-filled switchgear.
- Decommissioning/discarding components already emptied for SF6.
There are two exceptions from the requirements for use of certified personnel:
1) Persons that are attending or enrolled to a SF6-certification course
There is an exception for persons attending or enrolled to a SF6-certification course. This exception is limited in time to 12 months in total. If these conditions are met, persons without certificate can perform the following activities: recovery, installation, service, maintenance, repair and/or decommissioning if - and only if:
- They are attending or enrolled to a training course for the purpose of obtaining a certificate covering the relevant activity, and
- perform the activities under the supervision of a person holding a certificate covering these activities and
- the supervisor is fully responsible for the correct execution of the activities.
This is specified in the implementation regulation, EU 2015/2066, see article 2 (2) Certification of natural persons.
In practice this exception applies from when a person has received a confirmed date for the SF6- certification course and until the person has received the certificate by mail or is informed that he/she has failed the certification test.
Please note that this is not a general permission to work under supervision of a certified person. Apprentices and service personnel working under supervision of a certified person, e.g., a supervisor from the equipment vendor/manufacturer, must be certified (unless they are attending or enrolled to a SF6-certification course).
2) Persons working in the assembly lines of companies that manufacture equipment containing SF6
Persons working in the assembly lines of companies that manufacture equipment containing SF6 are not required to hold a certificate. This is specified in the implementation regulation (EU) 2015/2066. Article 2 (3) states: "This Regulation shall not apply to any manufacturing and repairing activity undertaken at manufacturer's sites for electrical switchgear."
Please note that substations and other installations in the grid are outside the manufacturer's site, and work on these installations must be performed by certified personnel, even if the work is performed or managed by representatives for the manufacturer of the equipment.
There are no requirements for certification of companies that use SF6 in electrical installations. Company certificates for f-gasses is only applicable for companies offering services for refrigeration plants, heat pumps and fire extinguishing systems, and not for equipment containing SF6.