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The liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, refrigerant gases and compressed gases industries are some of the most closely regulated industries in South Africa. Prior to the establishment of the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) in 2009, the gas industry was regulated by the Vessels under Pressure (VUP) Regulations. Between 1997 and June 2009, all legal gas installations were aligned to the VUP while all installations recorded after July 2009 are expected to comply with the PER.

Compliance with regulations vital in gas industryThe PER regulations set out the requirements regarding the design, manufacture, operation, repair, modification, maintenance, inspection and testing of pressure equipment. PER requires a Certificate of Conformity (COC) to be issued for all gas installations, proving that the installation is compliant with the current regulations. In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993, the PER also requires persons handling the installation of any gas systems to undergo specific training and to be registered with SAQCC Gas.

SAQCC Gas is non-profit company formed by four member associations to establish a central database which displays details of registered and authorised gas practitioners. SAQCC Gas has been officially appointed and mandated by the Department of Labour to register gas practitioners, on their behalf, within the natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, air conditioning and refrigeration gas, and compressed industrial and medical gas industries. The member associations are LPGASASA – Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa, SACGA – Southern Africa Compressed Gases Association, SARACCA – South African Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association, and SAGA – Southern African Gas Association.

According to SAQCC Gas, keeping up with regulations is as crucial as adhering to them. Gas practitioners who have been practicing since the era of the VUP need to familiarise themselves with the PER and conform to it, the organisation says.

For example, all installations completed under the VUP regulations will always be inspected as per the VUP, but when a modification or addition is made to the VUP compliant installation, it has to comply with the PER and obtain a COC under the PER. If an installation was completed under the VUP and awarded a Certificate of Conformity (COC), it remains valid even today, and the end-user is not obliged to amend their gas system to the current regulations. End-users who wish to modify their old gas installations, however, need to take note of the current PER.

Image credit:  Copyright: Nostal6ie / 123RF Stock Photo

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