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The importance of PER

The importance of PER

By John Parry of SAQCC Gas

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

SAQCC Gas Brochure V10

When it comes to 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 in 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 certified gas practitioners do not do the gas installations.

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

ILLEGAL INSTALLATIONS

Installations are deemed illegal when the criteria outlined in the PER are 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 source, but if the equipment is not certified, gas could become deadly. PER is designed for incident prevention. It is advisable for all users to understand the importance of the gas regulations by visiting the SAQCC Gas website at www.saqccgas.co.za.

GAS INSPECTORS

To ensure that the PER is enforced, the DOL has entrusted the function of inspections to well-trained inspectors. These inspectors address any reported violations of the PER as well as conduct surprise inspections.

REGISTERED PRACTITIONERS AND WHAT TO DO

SAQCC Gas has experienced a growth in registered practitioners, making gas regulation in South Africa safer than ever before. The onus is on the user to assist in driving registration through using registered practitioners only. When commissioning a 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 COC 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.


Click below to read the November 2017 issue of Plumbing Africa

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