To expand industry compliance in South Africa, the South African Qualifications and Certifications Committee of Gas (SAQCC Gas) is embarking on a Roadshow campaign. The objective is to reach everyone practising in the Gas industry and the end-user who utilises gas equipment. SAQCC Gas has been mandated by the South African Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) to ensure everyone operating in the Gas Industry has been trained and is qualified to safely complete gas-related work. SAQCC Gas registers all qualified Gas Practitioners, qualifying them as legal and compliant industry players.
The Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) gazetted in 2009, regulates the installation, design, manufacture, operation, repair, modification, maintenance, inspection and testing of pressure equipment. These regulations have been in existence for a decade now. Despite this fact, there are still reports of illegal Gas installations completed by unskilled and non-registered individuals. Such installations are hazardous and unsafe and place the User at risk.
On the 25th of February 2020, SAQCC Gas hosted a session in Cape Town. This has been one of the most successful sessions since the Roadshow campaign began. The actual number of attendees by far surpassed the anticipated number. There is a great need to educate and enforce gas compliance and related safety standards. The event was attended by the Department of Employment and Labour officials; Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Mr Malatse and Deputy Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Matlala Sathekge.
“The Western Cape Province has a concerningly high number of reported gas-related accidents mostly within the LPG sector .” Matlala Sathekge
The Cape Town session was attended by a variety of persons, amongst others were; older knowledgeable Gas Practitioners, newly registered Gas Practitioners, end-users and Fire Department officials. Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Jakes Malatse opened the floor by introducing the PER, on which all other practices in the Gas industry are required to adhere to. One of the topics discussed was the importance of keeping up with the regulations. In his presentation, CEO of the Southern African Gas Association (SAGA), Roy Lubbe, explained the difference between the old Vessels Under Pressure (VUP) regulations which were replaced by the PER in 2009. Also presented a narrative and various applications in applying the regulations and standards pre and post 2009. This was vital content for the more senior Gas Practitioners who might have previously adhered to the VUP and were now required to align their work to the PER. This emphasised the importance of keeping up with compliance regardless of how experienced the Gas Practitioner might be.
The Director of the South Africa Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA), Barney Richardson, spoke about the different registration categories, this was a very interactive session as there seemed to be a lot of misconceptions regarding the margins of each category. The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of South Africa (LPGSASA) was represented by Zandile Msholoqa the association’s compliance officer is. One of the reasons that lead to non-compliance is Gas Practitioners practising out of their registration scope, Ms Msholoqa elaborated on the three basic training courses in the LPG industry: domestic, commercial and industrial. The objective of the Roadshow is to ensure registered Gas Practitioners remain compliant, to help non-compliant individuals hop on the compliance wagon and to educate the end-user on how to safely benefit from their gas equipment. This was indeed a successful roadshow!