Posted on: October 1, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

The SA Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, labour regulations, AIA guidelines and accreditation rules would be reviewed by amendments during 2012.

Department of Labour (DOL) occupational health and hygiene director Millie Ruiters said DOL was “going the Sanas route” for accrediting Approved Inspection Authorities (AIAs) to standardise occupational health measurements approaches, inspections, quoting, and reporting.

DOL, AIAs and occupational health and hygiene (OHH) professional bodies, Saioh and Sasohn, would rely on Sanas accreditation to further standardise OHH practice.

OH work standardised

Employers and sheq officers hiring occupational hygiene specialists, often receive wide ranging quotes. Saioh advises employers to study their legal register, get several quotes, and enquire about best practice exposure measurement approaches, sampling, testing and reporting.

“Are occupational health and hygiene professional bodies fulfilling their duties, like training their members?”, asked DOL occupational health and hygiene director Millie Ruiters.

She posed similar questions about the roles of government, her own department, employers, and organised labour, concluding that some workers are getting injured and diseased, despite recent efforts by the loose tripartite alliance of business, state, and organised labour.

• PHOTO; Department of Labour (DOL) occupational health and hygiene director Millie Ruiters spoke at a DOL Inspection and Enforcement Services chemicals sector seminar in Vereeniging in September 2011.

• Some other new legislation relevant to sheq management is noted below.

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Exposure limits to change

Occupational exposure limits (OELs) could be updated more frequently, and new OELs could be set for substances not regulated before.

North West University Health Sciences Physiology lecturer Dr Johan du Plessis told a DOL Inspection and Enforcement Services chemicals sector seminar in Vereeniging in September 2011 that OELs were set fro only a fraction of substances in general use in industry.

OELs and notations are set under Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances of 1995, Annexure 1: HCS guidelines, including tables of recommended limits, control limits, short term exposure limits, biological exposure indices, skin notations, and sensitisation notations.

“Absence of an OEL does not imply that exposure to these substances are safe”, he warned. OELs generally refer to single substances, while mixed exposures may aggravate effects. Further, OELs are not an index of toxicitiy.

OELs do not protect all workers, since some may be hypersensitive, and some may be compromised by smoking or other medical conditions. OELs are applicable to healthy adult male workers, and cult not be applied to environmental exposure.

OELs generally relate to airborne exposure and inhalation routes, are set based on incomplete toxicological data, and may be out of date with recent scientific research results.

New OELs could regulate exposure to PAHs and DPM, while exposure to nano materials and nano particles would be on the cards as new materials are developed.
Forthcoming legislation could use CAS numbers, instead of chemical formulae, for example methylene chloride and dichloromethane are identical, but listed in two different tables.

SA legislators are likely to adopt overseas NIOSH skin exposure criteria of 2009, listing 142 substances. All sensitiers, irrespective of exposure routes, could be included in the RHCS.

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Nano materials defined by ICCA

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) has established five core elements of a global regulatory definition of nano materials;
• solid, particulate substances
• internationally manufactured at nano scale
• consisting of nano objects as defined by International Standards Organisation (ISO)
• aggregates and agglomerates
• minimum 10% by weight of nano objects as defined by ISO, or 50% by weight or more of aggregates or agglomerates consisting of nano objects.

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Energy management systems standard SANS 50001

The international standard for energy management, adopted in SANS 50001, aims to enable organisations to establish systems and processes to improve energy performance, efficiency, use and consumption.

Implementation of SANS 5001 would lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy cost and related environmental impacts, by systematic energy management.

The standard applies to all types and sizes of organisations. To buy the text, Visit http://www.sabs.co.za/index.php?page=standardspuchase

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Mercury legislation

Global legislation on mercury handling and exposure is being drafted by the World Chlorine Council and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The draft appears to be similar to the Stockholm Convention, said CAIA. Visit the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee INC3 at http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/Mercury/Negotiations/INC3/tabid/3469/Default.aspx

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ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code

A 2011 addenda to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code was released on July 1, 2011. Instead of issuing the addenda as pages for insertion into the 2010 edition of the Code as in the past, the addenda is incorporated into the Code and ASME will provide everyone who purchased a copy of a Section of the 2010 edition of the Code, a free copy of the same Section with the 2011 addenda incorporated.

ASME said there would be no addenda service in 2012 and future years. A new edition of the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code will be published in 2013 and from then on, a new edition of the Code will be published every two years.

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Agri chemicals registration

A new 2011 schedule of charges for registration of a farm feed, fertilisers or sterilisation installation, agricultural remedy, or stock remedy, pest control operations and renewals, was published by the SA Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, under Section 23 of the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 36 of 1947.

Other charges include labeling, change of hazardous classification, additional sources of active ingredients, and change in formulation. See Government Gazette 34234 of 29 April 2011.

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Planning and Land Use Management Bill

The SA Department of Rural Development and Land Reform published a Draft Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill for comment on 6 May 2011.

Settlement and land use patterns is one of the nine problem areas defined in a National Planning Commission (NPC) study published in 2011, led by NPC chairperson and Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manual, and NPC deputy chairperson and Minsiter of Human Settlement, Tokyo Sexwale.

The Bill aims to replace the Development Facilitation Act, 67 of 1995, Removal of Restrictions Act, 84 of 1967, Physical Planning Act, 88 of 1967, and other laws. It will impact on national, provincial and pre-1994 legislation on land use management and land development.

The primary objects of the Bill are to:
• provide for a uniform, effective, efficient and integrated regulatory framework for spatial planning, land use, and land use management, in a manner that promotes the principles of co-operative government and public interest
• determine development principles, compulsory norms and standards for land use
• promote co-operative governance, socio-economic benefits, and sustainable and efficient use of land
• establish planning tribunals
• redress imbalances of the past and ensure equity in land use.

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