Sparks Electrical News August 2015

August 2015


• Energy efficiency • Motor control centres and motor protection

15 16-18

• Contractors’ corner • Buyers’ guide • Lighting • People on the move REGULARS

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DoL to make“concerted effort” to build up electrical industry in SA

AT the Department of Labour’s‘Electri- cal Safety Indaba’held in Johannes- burg on 18 June. Tibor Szana, DoL’s newly appointed chief inspector, gave his assurance that the DoL is going to make a“concerted effort”to build up the electrical industry in South Africa and that it is working on a“frame- work”for the electrical industry to move forward. While this framework was not revealed, the indaba addressed de- velopments in the electrical industry. Various presentations were given, and theses included: the role of the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS); the certification of electrical products by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS); the role of Accredited Inspection Authorities (AIAs); and feedback from the ECA(SA). Szana said the electrical industry is“complex”and needs a“structured approach”tomake it work. He admit-

The presenters at the Department of Labour’s ‘electrical safety indaba’ held in Johannesburg on 18 June were Jacob Malatse, director at the Department of Labour(DoL); Thabo Mabena (inspection manager and technical specialist at the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS); Mark Palmer (Electrical Approved Inspection Authority Southern Africa); Linda Grundlingh, field manager, Inspection at the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS); Mark Mfikoe, national director at the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA); Pieter Laubscher, deputy director at the Department of Labour and Patrick Mmapheto, technical assistant at DoL. Absent: Tibor Szana, chief inspector, DoL.

ted that, over the past few years, the industry had become“fractured”. “However, we can no longer tolerate a situation where more than 20 000 electricians roam freely as a law unto themselves,”he warned and reiterated that“health and safety are non-negotiable”. “It is the public that pays the price if this depart- ment doesn’t do its job – and there are regulations to ensure that minimum requirements are in place,” said Szana.“Hazards must be removed or reduced – this is not an industry where you get a second chance.” He stated that the DoL wants to work“together with this industry andmove forward”. “Let’s deal with the problems as they arise and before they become major problems,”he said. “I’mnot interested in stories – an installation is either right or it is wrong – and anyone who en- dangers the health and safety of another person is contravening Section 9 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act,”he warned, adding that DoL will “take offenders to task”. Szana mentioned a personal experience with “shoddy”electrical work when he moved into his new home and found loose, live wires in the ceiling void even though he had a‘valid’Certificate of Com- pliance.“Howmany more problems and unsafe situations exist out there?”he asked. He admitted that the DoL would have tomove faster to resolve issues and one of these issues is an unintended consequence of load shedding: “Generators are being connected to installations without adhering to the regulations,”he said, again issuing a stern warning that anyone who breaks the lawwould be punished. He appealed to the legitimate electrical industry – the registered electrical contractors – to report suspect installations and pirate contractors to the DoL.“We want to know about the‘funny’things happening out there. And there will be successful prosecutions,”he stressed. “Without structure, this complex industry will not

work,”he said, adding his assurance that the directorate for Electrical and Mechanical Engi- neering would assist the industry.

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