Annual Roadshow 2013: Learn what's hot in the fire industry!
Our George Roadshow takes place on Saturday 8 June from 9am at the George Lodge International, 86 Davidson Road. Click here for map.
- Entrance is free – and all are welcome
- Win a cash prize in the lucky draw (winner must be present to claim prize)
- Free gifts for the first 30 attendees
- Drinks and snacks provided
- A Certificate of Attendance will be issued
Don't miss this important event on the fire industry calendar!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 011 455 3157 by 31 May 2013.
Restructuring put in motion
Your committee has been working for months behind the scene to restructure the SAQCC so that the registration of technicians from other disciplines in the fire industry can also be done by SAQCC-Fire.
The Department of Labour finally appointed the SAQCC Fire to register fire detection and suppression technicians as well. It was thus envisaged to establish another sub-committee alongside the existing 1475 committee with a Management Committee overseeing both sub-committees. These committees will now be known as SAQCC Fire – 1475 Committee and SAQCC Fire – Detection & Suppression Committee (D & S for short).
A resolution was adopted at the June 2012 Annual General Meeting whereby the then current office bearers of the SANS 1475 committee be elected to serve for the first term as the inaugural Management Committee of the SAQCC Fire.
The motivation for the resolution was that these individuals had vast experience in developing the SAQCC committee and that their experience would be invaluable in establishing the operations of the new Management Committee and the continued functioning of the 1475 sub-committee and the newly established D & S sub-committee.
The adoption of this resolution resulted in the Management Committee being established with Mr Brett Jones as chairman, Mr Duncan Boyes as vice-chairman and Mr Kobus Breedt as treasurer. Both chairmen of the 1475 and D&S sub-committees will also serve on this committee.
Newly elected sub-committees
New office bearers were elected for the 1475 sub-committee at the June AGM. These are Mr Tom Dreyer as chairman, Ms Astrid Mugge as vice-chairman and Mr Kobus Breedt who was re-elected as treasurer.
The D & S sub-committee was established in the meantime with members of the D & S industry applying to become committee members. Application were perused and approved by the SAQCC. The appointed committee elected Mr Matt Kielty as chairman and Ms Laura Swart as vice-chairman. Mr Breedt will also be Treasurer for this sub-committee.
The D & S sub-committee aims to commence with the registration of D & S technicians from 1 August 2012 under a grandfather clause. Forms will be available from mid-July and requests can be directed to the SAQCC Fire administration office by either fax or email.
In the meantime, the revision of the constitution of the SAQCC Fire is being prepared so that a special meeting can be called at which the SAQCC members will vote on the proposed amended constitution. All members will receive copies of the proposed amended constitution and will thereafter be informed of this special meeting.
Possible revision of national standards on the cards
The outgoing 1475 committee Technical chairman, Mr Jeremy Kellett, reported that the SABS standards committee (SC21A) for fire safety agreed on the revision and continuation of drafting of standards that pertain to the fire industry.
It was agreed to re-start the process of drafting SANS 7156 (Portable fire extinguishers – performance and construction). This standard would replace the existing SANS 1910 (Portable refillable fire extinguishers) to which low pressure extinguishers are manufactured in South Africa.
A working group was also formed to review amendments proposed for SANS 10105 (The use and control of fire-fighting equipment) as the proposer felt the standard had shortcomings. Another standard to be reviewed is SANS 534 (Fire hose reels).
All 1475 technicians need to be knowledgeable on these standards and as the SAQCC is represented at these SABS committees, technicians will be updated on the progress and implications should revisions be approved.
Mr Kellett did not make himself available for re-election at the June AGM as he wished to take some time out, but confirmed that he would still play an active role in other industry bodies.
The 1475 committee would like to thank Mr Jeremy Kellett for years of service to the industry and specifically in his position as SAQCC Technical committee chairman.
Technicians warned about service labels
It has come to the SAQCC’s attention that some 1475 technicians were only noting down the last three digits of their SAQCC registration number on the annual service label.
Technicians must fill in their full number on the service label as it is displayed on their registration cards issued by the SAQCC. This is for traceability reasons and should any other number be displayed on an extinguisher, the unit will not be legally compliant.
The SABS representative at the SAQCC 1475 committee also reported cases where the service label was used to fill in pressure-testing details for low pressure extinguishers. Once again this is not legal as SANS 1475 Part 1 clearly states that a service label should be used to fill in detail specific to the annual service whereas a separate pressure-test label should be affixed once pressure-testing was done.
Accident reported involving CO2 extinguisher
Mr John Caird of the Eastern Cape reported to the SAQCC an incident in which a 6,8 kg CO2 extinguisher was involved and which resulted in killing a bystander.
He said that it appeared as if the extinguisher was taken to a scrap yard to be sold as scrap, but the scrap yard did not accept it as it was still full. In the endeavours of removing the valve there and then, the cylinder shot off and apparently killed a bystander.
Technicians are reminded that low pressure extinguishers need to be indelibly marked “condemned” and high pressure cylinders deformed and returned in an unassembled state to the owners as per the relevant national standards so as to prevent such units from being recirculated.
Click here for more information or you can access the correct procedures regarding condemning extinguishers in SANS 1475 Part 1.
This and that ...
- The SAQCC has recorded the highest number of registered technicians yet in June 2012: 1231 registered technicians and 403 trainees from 448 SABS-approved companies.
- Complaints recently tabled and dealt with by the committee in accordance with the SAQCC’s disciplinary code included a technician servicing without being registered, but using another person’s registration number as well as issues such as a registered technician leaving an employer and servicing in the employ of the new company before being re-registered. Technicians need to take note that the SAQCC and the SABS co-ordinate closely in ensuring that all 1475 approved companies have registered SAQCC technicians and vice versa. Should the one lack the other registration, such company and/or technician may be suspended/deregistered.
- The last SAQCC road show for 2012 took place on 2 June in Johannesburg targeting 1475 technicians in the Gauteng region to interact with the SAQCC, DOL, SABS and local authorities. The newly elected committees will re-evaluate the format and contents of future road shows. Technicians are welcome to e-mail comments on the past year’s road shows and recommendations for future shows at email@example.com or contact the office at 011-455 3157. BECAUSE OUR POSTAL SYSTEM LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED, EMAIL IS USED FOR REMINDERS FOR THESE EVENTS – SO PLEASE FORWARD YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES AND/OR CHANGES TO ENSURE WE HAVE THE CORRECT DETAILS.
- Trainees are reminded that details of accredited training centres can be found here. Training can also be facilitated in 1475 approved workshops with these accredited centres.
- It is has been brought to the attention of the SAQCC that the weights displayed on some extinguisher instruction labels do not correspond with the actual mass of extinguishers. Technicians are advised to take special care in this regard and only sign off an extinguisher once the label’s information and the actual weight correspond. It should also be taken up with the manufacturer and the local SABS should discrepancies be found. Technicians are also reminded that extinguishers should carry a SABS approval mark of the actual manufacturer of the specific extinguisher before the service label can be signed off.
Road Shows for the SAQCC Fire
SAQCC Fire recently held Road Shows in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban (4, 5 and 12 November respectively). The idea was to inform and update all the SAQCC Fire registered technicians and trainees on the what, where and why’s of SAQCC Fire!
Held at independent venues with catering provided, the shows were deliberately targeted for a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to encourage participation by the technicians and trainees - making it unnecessary for them to take time off work in order to attend.
Senior members of the main Gauteng based committee flew to the various venues to make the presentations and thus the technicians and trainees who attended, saw Jeremy Kellett in Cape Town, Tom Dreyer in Port Elizabeth and Brett Jones, the Chairman in Durban.
Rosemary Cowan, our Administrator, was also in attendance at each Road Show as she is the person most likely to have dealt personally with each registered person.
The Department of Labour, the South African Bureau of Standards and the local fire departments were all included and each event culminated in a panel discussion which proved extremely successful with many questions being fielded on all aspects of the fire servicing industry.
These Road Shows will be rolled out to the other provinces early next year and it is hoped they will become an annual event.
SAQCC Fire is the officially appointed body and recognised by the Department of Labour to register and regulate all technical personnel actively involved in the reconditioning of fire fighting equipment in terms of SANS 1475.
13th Annual General Meeting
Our AGM took place on 7 June, 2012, at Culmen Fata Training Centre.
Tom Dreyer was elected Chairman, and Astrid Mugge was elected Vice Chairman, with Kobus Breedt continuing as Treasurer. One new committee member was elected, Jacob Scholtz.
Please click here to download the full minutes of the meeting.
Click here to read the Chairman's Report.
Illegal activities – who will take action?
The SAQCC still receives queries and complaints that little action is taken against illegal operators in the industry. However, with several different authorities in the fire industry that can take action, it's important to understand the jurisdiction of each of these - and therefore which to approach when laying a complaint, as well as to follow the correct procedures.
The Department of Labour (DOL) is the government department responsible for our industry and the Occupational Health Safety Act, which prescribes SANS 1475, furthermore tasks the Minister of Labour and his department to ensure that the OSH Act is implemented. The Pressure Equipment Regulations, which forms part of the OSH Act, states that:
- "No user shall use, require or permit the use of a fire extinguisher unless designed, constructed, filled, recharged, reconditioned, modified, repaired, inspected or tested in accordance with the relevant safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act.”
This, together with the Building Regulations Act, places the onus on the owner of buildings to ensure that fire extinguishers fulfil the legal requirements. Such an owner can be prosecuted by the local authority or the Department of Labour should he/she contravene this law.(see below)
- "No person shall fill, recharge, recondition, modify, repair, inspect or test any fire extinguisher unless such person is an authorised person employed by a permit holder: Provided that a permit is issued by an organisation approved by the chief inspector.”
This organisation is currently the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). The “authorised person” is currently a person who is registered by the South African Qualification and Certification Committee (Fire) (SAQCC).
- "Applications for approval shall include proof of accreditation as prescribed in subregulation and shall include full contact details and address information."
- "The chief inspector's approval shall be subject to a valid accreditation certificate issued by the accreditation authority: Provided that the chief inspector may set additional requirements before granting approval."
Offences and penalties
- Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of the provisions of regulations 19(1) and 19(2) (the above) shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months and, in the case of a continuous offence, to an additional fine of R200,00 for each day on which the offence continues or additional imprisonment of one day for each day on which the offence continues: Provided that the period of such additional imprisonment shall not exceed 90 days.
These requirements and all documents referred to in the OSH Act, form the basis in accordance with which the different authorities can act against illegal operators. The Department of Labour and the local authorities have the power to prosecute any operators who contravenes any of the above regulations. Complainants can approach
these authorities directly.
The SABS can act legally against any company which presents itself fraudulently as holding a legal 1475 permit when it is not approved as per the permit conditions. The SABS has reported numerous cases where such complaints have been forwarded and action has been taken. The SABS issued a media release earlier this year which has been forwarded to the SAQCC wherein companies were named for illegally using the SABS name, logo and/or certification mark.
Should anyone come across a company displaying a SANS 1475 permit and it is not listed on the SABS website as having a permit, a complaint should be forwarded to the SABS in writing with accompanying evidence.
The SAQCC can act against any registered technician who follows illegal servicing procedures. Such complaints should be forwarded in writing with accompanying evidence. The SAQCC has a disciplinary code in accordance with which disciplinary action is then taken against any technician contravening the requirements of SANS 1475.
The SAQCC has minuted at its September meeting the responsibility of the owner of SANS 1475 permit companies as well to ensure that safe and legal work procedures were followed by their employees as required by the OSH
Act. Should owners neglect to ensure safe working procedures or cause their employees to follow illegal and unsafe procedures, such employers could be prosecuted as per the OSH Act.
It is important that technicians assist in regulating the industry as they are the eyes and the ears of the portable fire equipment servicing industry. Should technicians come across any actions which they deem to be illegal, they should forward their complaint and evidence to the specific authority as listed above so that action can be taken accordingly.
Safety advice on condemning extinguishers
It has been brought to the SAQCC Committee’s attention that a number of SAQCC registered persons are servicing fire extinguishers that have been already condemned by another SAQCC registered person.
In view of this, it must be pointed out that there are very specific reasons or circumstances under which an extinguisher cylinder must be condemned. The following extract from the SAQCC (Fire) Operations Manual should
provide clarity regarding the reasons for condemning fire extinguisher cylinders:
“In terms of SANS 1475-1, in addition to any extinguisher cylinders that are condemned for failing the pressure test, condemn any extinguisher that:
- has been repaired by soldering, brazing, welding or patching;
- has damaged screw threads;
- has been burnt in a fire;
- exhibits excessive corrosion, damage or mechanical markings other than those authorized markings applied in terms of the applicable manufacturing standard;
- is of stainless steel and has been in use with a calcium chloride extinguishing medium;
- is constructed of copper or brass joined by soft solder or by riveting or is manufactured from a non-metallic material;
- is unable to be maintained in compliance with the requirements of the original manufacturer.
NOTE In terms of SANS 1475-1, all internal cartridge-operated extinguishers shall be replaced with an acceptable type of extinguisher.
NOTE In terms of SANS 1475-1, all soda-acid extinguishers are obsolete and shall be replaced with an acceptable type of extinguisher.
NOTE In terms of SANS 1475-1, unless exempted from pressure testing by the Department of Labour, all halon extinguishers shall be replaced with an acceptable type of extinguisher.”
For further information, contact SAQCC-Fire on tel.