By Barney Richardson
As has been repeated many times, this is a legal requirement because the pressure equipment regulations are in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.
An extract from the Pressure Equipment Regulations, regulation 17 states:
“An authorised person or an approved inspection authority shall issue a Certificate of Conformity after completion of a gas installation, modification, alteration or change of user or ownership.”
Ever since the regulations came into force in October 2009 (yes, 11 years ago), many practitioners are still not registered and cannot legally issue a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) as required and in compliance with the Pressure Equipment Regulations.
SARACCA has made available books of fifty Certificates of Conformity at a very reasonable price, R11.00 per certificate. The cost of an e-CoC will now be R15.00 each.
SAQCC Gas has spent the last year or two developing an electronic CoC system to cater for the four gas types covered by the regulation for the safe handling of gases. The system is in the testing phase and will soon be introduced to the gas practitioners who are authorised to sign CoCs. An introductory video is available on the SAQCC Gas website.
In the Category ‘A’ – the Authorised Refrigeration Gas Practitioners – only two levels may sign a CoC for installation and/or maintenance work.
The first of these are the ‘A2’ card holders who are authorised to install and maintain domestic (R290 & R600a) and light commercial refrigeration units. These are the domestic refrigerators, small ice makers, self-contained bar fridges and beverage coolers using hydrocarbon refrigerants, and where specific training on such units has been completed and assessed as competent.
The second category ‘A4’ practitioner is authorised to install and maintain room air conditioning units up to 18kW cooling capacity (60000 BTU/hr) and can sign a CoC for the work he takes sole responsibility for. This is particularly for the split wall type and small ducted air conditioning units popular in offices, small shops and home installations.
The e-CoC system will restrict access to the certificate forms to those who are authorised to issue an e-CoC.
Another practitioner falling under Category A is the plant operator who is authorised to operate a refrigeration plant and is aware of safety regulations and requirements but may not sign a CoC. The registered practitioner who is authorised to install refrigeration piping, components and equipment under supervision also may not sign a CoC, this is the responsibility of the person who is supervising and who is registered as a Category ‘B’ practitioner.
Air conditioning or refrigeration apprentices or learners who are in training cannot sign a CoC while in training. Only once having passed the trade test and having upgraded registration to Level 6 in Category ‘B’, can they then sign a CoC.
The Category ‘B’ registered practitioners, who are artisans who work on new installations and do repair and maintenance, take the responsibility to issue an e-CoC for the work done personally or work done under their supervision. Regardless of the type of refrigerant, be it an F-gas, hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide or ammonia, the CoC must be signed by the responsible person who is registered for the type of refrigerant gas – and has either done the work or been in the position of supervising other practitioners.