AIAs may rely on specialists

Since specialised Approved Inspection Authorities (AIAs) are rare, DOL may approve accredited orgainsations as AIAs, to certify assessments by specialist managers.

Department of Labour explosives manager Rudzani Ramabulana explained to; “Every sector, including explosives, construction, and chemicals, is required to have specialised AIAs, who are not necessarily experts in the field, but must be knowledgeable in the field.

“AIAs are required to perform risk assessments on processes, buildings and personnel, therefore they do require some specialised knowledge.”

An industry may “decide whether to centralise AIAs, or to continue registering AIAs through the normal system. Yet all AIAs must undergo an accreditation as well as approval processes,” Ramabulana said.

Ramabulana cites legislation that the “Chief Inspector of occupational health and safety may approve as an inspection authority any organisation [that is] accredited in terms of the provisions of the Act and these Regulations… [and] may at any time withdraw any approval of an approved inspection authority, subject to section 35 of the Act.”

The explosives industry has proposed that generic, industrial AIAs could fulfill legally required quality assurance (QA) functions, by working with sector specialists who may not be certified AIAs themselves. Certified AIAs should then be allowed to check and certify the risk assessment formats and skills of the employed specialists.

Industry specialists note that assessment and inspection are team functions, and the skills required for explosives sites to comply, need not reside in one person or one consulting team. This view was raised in a National Institute of Explosives Technology (NIXT) forum meeting.

DOL commented, however, that accountability remained with one person, either the CEO or appointed Explosives Manager.

Independent explosives specialists are provided via NIXT, or must be accredited by SANAS and appointed by DOL as AIA.

Inspection teams at Arcelor Mittal, Denel, and some other operators, are undergoing SANAS accreditation, and have progressed to Stage 1.

AIA rules would be revised in a review of the Explosives Act and Explosives Regulations, but due to the importance and urgency of AIA functions, NIXT and DOL are negotiating an interim arrangement.

Labour legislation favour the use of AIAs and industry would have to comply, said Ramabulana.

The Explosives Act would soon benefit from an implementation plan, reports the SAPS. In line with the new permit system, SAPS is testing a newly installed computer system.

Explosives Manager Certificates are also being processed as per the explosives regulations. The processes are underway, despite being by applicant not submitting all requirements

* NIXT addresses issues related to safety, health, environment, risk and quality. It is not a trade association, and members are prohibited from engaging in topics related to competition, during meetings and conferences.

PHOTO; DOL explosives manager Rudzani Ramabulana.

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