Pressure Equipment Regulations

New pressure equipment regulations affect importers and suppliers of pressure equipment to the South African market.

31 May 2016

Importers and suppliers of pressure equipment have a number of obligations and legal responsibilities with which they must comply. The legal requirements for the importing of pressure equipment are contained in the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). One of the regulations that's important to importers and suppliers of pressure equipment into the South African market is SANS 347. SANS 347 is a national standard which is mandated in the PER and is used to ensure technical compliance to regulatory requirements which include hazard categorisation and conformity assessment requirements.

Below is an excerpt from the PER regarding SANS 347:

  1. Importers and suppliers shall ensure that pressure equipment sold complies with the requirements of this Regulation.
  2. The importer shall assume the liability of the manufacturer in terms of this Regulation.
  3. Any pressure equipment that requires a permit to be issued by an organization approved by the chief inspector shall ensure that such approval is obtained by the importer or manufacturer before the pressure equipment is placed in the market: Provided that such equipment shall comply with the relevant health and safety standard incorporated in to these Regulation under section 44 of the Act. 

The PER requires importers to maintain or have access to, the design and technical fabrication documentation for  pressure equipment so that a detailed investigation can be undertaken in the event of a failure. The issue above poses a significant risk to importers if they cannot demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to safeguard the quality of the equipment being supplied and that they have the necessary documentation to support this claim. This risk could be mitigated if importers engaging with overseas suppliers obtain statements to confirm the type of material that was used during the construction of their pressure equipment. Regulations require that equipment must be assessed according to the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) by means of a Particular Material Appraisal (PMA). Alternatively importers can use other documentation such as the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code rules for U and UM to ensure that requirements for material certification are met.  Importers are required to keep this documentation on file as long as the equipment is being supplied into the market and thereafter for a further period of 12 years as required by the PER. Importers will also be required to send a correspondence and confirmation to the AIA involved in the conformity assessment process for imported equipment for their review and records.

With proper documentation importers and suppliers of pressure equipment into the South African market can limit liability to their organization in the unlikely event of equipment failure or loss of life. Intertek Industry Services is a Government Approved Inspection Authority and an Accredited American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Authorised Inspection Agency. We ensure that importers and supplies of pressure equipment are compliant with the PER and other issues relating to design and construction code of pressure vessels. Intertek's experts provide you with in-depth knowledge regarding the latest OSHA regulations to ensure that you operations are safe and compliant.

Visham is a Professional Engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in the engineering and inspection fields. He was part of the core group that compiled the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) and its companion document, SANS 347 – “Categorisation and Conformity Assessment Criteria for all Pressure Equipment”. He is also the Technical Manager of Intertek’s ASME Authorised Inspection Agency with its global headquarters in South Africa.