Many T5 type fluorescent tube light systems, replacing old ballast transformers by news integrated ballast transformers, were found to be safe by a specialist work group including Eskom, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), equipment manufacturers, and the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) in April 2012.
Eskom considers rebates on kits that comply with safety requirements, have detailed product information clearly and permanently printed on the outside, and are properly labelled and installed by a qualified electrician.
Relevant information relating to modification and installation should be kept in a technical file by users following modification of light fittings, and the file should be used to order spares and train staff, reports ESI Africa.
At least three T5 adapters were tested. The work group found that many of the units did not have any exposed live parts during or after installation, provided the supplier’s instructions on the packaging were followed.
Three systems were submitted to SABS to ensure that the lighting safety standard SANS (IEC) 60598-2-1 was adhered to.
“These fluorescent lamps have significant potential to reduce energy usage in commercial and industrial buildings. Eskom will, therefore, once again consider rebates on compliant projects using T5 tubular fluorescent lamp retrofit kits,” says Andrew Etzinger, senior general manager, Integrated Demand Management (IDM) department at Eskom.
Recommendations include kits tested and approved by SABS, and attaching labels featuring detailed information, including supplier, circuit diagram and unique catalogue numbers of components, on the outside of luminaires.
In the absence of a current SANS applied to these types of lamps, systems will be tested to SANS 60598-1 as a semi-luminaire. A recommendation has been submitted to SABS that SANS 60598-1 be amended to include semi-luminaires with G13 lamp caps.
Lighting installers must be trained
Suppliers are obliged to train installers on correct and safe installation, which must be carried out by a competent electrician with the existing luminaire disconnected and switched off. Also, adaptors are not to be used in emergency luminaires.
Installers and project developers have to ensure that illumination levels of a site after installation comply with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. Depreciation factors must be included in the calculations and initial illumination levels must be above the OHS minimum value.
Etzinger reminds installers and building owners that by modifying a luminaire installing ballasts, adaptors, and lamp holders, and repositioning lamps, they legally assume the role of a luminaire manufacturer with regard to safety, EMC, photometric, and environmental impacts.
In addition, they assume other legal responsibilities from the original equipment manufacturer and have an obligation to ensure compliance with relevant statutory safety, performance and energy requirements.
“When assessing suitability of a product or installation, users must make a judgement and take appropriate advice. Eskom urges that post-modification of installed luminaries be carried out by a qualified, competent electrical engineer.
Eskom can change or withdraw its decision to continue offering rebates on T5 adapter systems at any time, and review it after amendment to SANS 60598-1 or publication of a standard more directly covering these products, Etzinger said.
Eskom will be contacting all customers who have previously installed these systems through the rebate programme, to check on its safety.
Some lights not safe
Several other lighting components and extension adaptors were tested to be unsafe due to overheating and other factors in recent months, yet some of the same unsafe lighting models were retestsed, or became SABS Approved mark clilents, and were then passed, or allowed into the market. (See recent reports on SHEQafrica.com on SABS, NCRS, and electrical appliances)
Users should note that some lighting appliances and extension plugs bearing the SABS mark, may not be safe.
PHOTO; A T5 fluorescent tube retrofit kit, with integrated ballast replacing external ballast transformer. Eskom and SABS said in April 2012 that “most of these ktis are safe”.