All of us have probably at some point experienced load shedding and power failures, and having an alternative power source available can certainly make life easier.
It is exactly the unpredictability of a continuous electricity supply and the high cost thereof, that lead to people obtaining electricity from alternative power sources. As a result, the use of gas appliances, solar panels and generators in homes and on farms has become increasingly popular and has increased considerably over the past few years.
One of the cheaper options is the use of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) gas for heating and food preparation. While gas is generally a safe product to work with, it can pose a risk (just like any fuel) when used or installed incorrectly.
Gas incidents occur due to human error, such as incorrect use and faulty installation, as well as the lack of maintenance, which can result in explosions, fires and the inhalation of carbon monoxide.
Other possible causes of these LP gas risks include:
· Poor pipelines and connections.
· Damaged or rusted cylinders.
· A cylinder too close to a heat source, and
· Cylinders that are stored incorrectly.
If gas does not burn properly or is used in an area without adequate ventilation, it produces excess carbon monoxide. When inhaled, oxygen is reduced in the blood and this can lead to dizziness, headaches, nausea, chest and abdominal pain, unconsciousness, and in extreme cases, even death.
That is why it is very important to be aware of these dangers, as well as the legislation and regulations that apply to fixed gas installations, such as a built-in gas stove, hot water system, gas fireplaces and gas burners etc.
The specific legislation regulating gas installations is contained in the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 (as amended).
Certificate of conformity (CoC)
Since October 2009, it has been mandatory for a certificate of conformity (CoC) to be issued for fixed gas installations by an authorised person registered with the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of South Africa (LPGAS) as a gas practitioner for the specific gas installation.
The certificate confirms that the gas installation complies with the requirements of the legislation and meets the necessary South African National Standards (SANS) regulations, and is, therefore, safe.
The South African Gas Qualification and Certification Committee (SAQCCGas) is authorised to register gas practitioners as competent within a specific scope of work.
An LP gas installation without a valid certificate will make the installation illegal and possibly unsafe, and can lead to serious consequences, especially in the event of injuries or death.
If a fire or explosion should occur due to a gas leak, incorrect/faulty installation or maintenance, and there is no up-to-date conformity certificate available, your insurance company may also repudiate your claim.
Protect yourself, your family, workers and visitors by being proactive and make sure you comply.
For further information or assistance pertaining to Gas installations please visit our website www.esbrokers.co.za.
This article is intended to provide information and not any advice or legal advice. Written by Liza De Beer Old Mutual Insure