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The importance of PER

As South Africa’s refrigerant gas consumption and production increases, so do number of illegal installations and risks. Why do we need the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) and how do you stay within the law?

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When it comes to refrigerant gas consumption in Africa, South Africa has had a history of relatively low gas consumption. Countries like Nigeria far outstrips South Africa’s consumption. In addition, South Africa produces very little gas of its own and relies on imports from Mozambique and further afield Asian, European and American territories. However, this is changing.

Over the past five years alone, South Africa’s gas consumption has grown significantly. The negative impact of this can be felt through the increase in illegal gas installations countrywide. This implication means that South Africans have a greater chance of incurring harm through everyday gas use if gas installations are not done by certified gas practitioners.

Through the PER, the Department of Labour (DOL) is tasked with safeguarding and enforcing the regulation of safe handling and gas installations. This pertains to all equipment with a greater pressure threshold of 50kpa. PER also accounts for all gas practitioners to be registered with the South African Qualification Certification Committee for gas (SAQCC-Gas).

Download a copy of the 2009 PER 

Illegal installations
Installations are deemed illegal when the criteria outlined in the PER is not met. The PER outlines the duties of the different role-players, from manufacturers through to users. If a gas installation is not done correctly, parties not adhering to the regulation will be held responsible. The user, if found in violation of the regulation, will be held responsible for any person(s) affected, or liable for any costs to damage, including the third party.

Many first-time gas users are not aware that gas practitioners are required to issue a certificate of compliance (COC). In many instances, users tend to look at cost before qualification when choosing an installer. In these instances, the user will be held liable as per the PER. It is up to the user to ensure that qualified practitioners are used.

Purpose of PER
Like illegal electricity connections, gas can be harmful if not used properly. Gas is a relatively safe energy sources, but if the equipment is not certified, gas could become deadly. PER is designed for incident preventions. Is advisable for all users to understand the importance of gas regulation by visiting the SAQCC Gas website: www.sagccgas.co.za 

Gas inspectors
To ensure that the PER is enforced the DOL has entrusted the role of inspections to well-trained men and women. These inspectors address any reported violations of the PER as well as conduct surprise inspections.

Registered Practitioners and what to do
SAGCC Gas has experienced a growth in registered practitioner making gas regulation in South Africa safer ever than before. The onus is on the user to assist in driving registration through only using registered practitioners. When commission gas installation, ask these two questions:

  • Who can fit the gas? Whenever you call a gas practitioner you need to ensure that they have proper certification to work on the gas installation. There are different types of certifications that SAQCC Gas issues for different kinds of gas installations. To find a registered practitioner visit: www.saqccgas.co.za 
  • What certification do I need? A certification of compliance must be issued for all gas installations as specified in the PER. The COC is issued by a registered practitioner on completion of work.

With the overall increase in the use of gas in South Africa, it is vital that all users understand the PER and what certification is required before commencing the work. Although illegal connections are predominantly restricted to residential use, industrial users are required to ensure that they maintain certification if a line is moved or tank banks altered in any way or form.

 

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