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Registered practitioners should sign CoCs

The PER clearly states that an authorised person shall issue a CoC after completion of an installation, repair or maintenance regardless of the size of installation. Image credit: Go Legal

The PER clearly states that an authorised person shall issue a CoC after completion of an installation, repair or maintenance regardless of the size of installation. Image credit: Go Legal

By Barney Richardson of SARACCA

Authority lies with registered practitioners to sign and issue a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) for refrigeration installation.

The Pressure Equipment Regulation number 17 (3) clearly states that an authorised person shall issue a certificate of conformity after completion of an installation, repair or maintenance regardless of the size of installation.

The table below lists the categories of registration for Authorised Refrigeration Gas Practitioners. The three main categories follow that which is listed in SANS 10147 for competence training. In addition, for clarity are the numbered category levels where registration is allocated according to the area of work and training.

 Registration categories

 A  1  The cardholder is aware of safety requirements and is authorised to operate a refrigeration plant
 2  The cardholder is authorised to install and maintain domestic (R290 & R600a) and light commercial refrigeration
 3  The cardholder is authorised to install of refrigeration piping, components and equipment
 4  The cardholder is authorised to install and maintain air conditioning units up to 18kW cooling capacity
 5  The card holder is an authorised air conditioning and refrigeration apprentice / learner
 B  6  The cardholder is an authorised as a refrigeration artisan using synthetic Freon gases and hydrocarbon refrigerant gas
 7  The cardholder is authorised as a specialist Carbon Dioxide (R744) refrigeration practitioner
 8  The cardholder is authorised as a specialist Ammonia (R717) refrigeration practitioner
 9  The cardholder is authorised as a specialist  motor vehicle air conditioning practitioner
 10  The cardholder is authorised as a specialist refrigerated transport practitioner
 11  The cardholder is authorised as a specialist marine refrigeration practitioner on all types of refrigerant gases
 C  12  The cardholder is an authorised inspector of refrigeration installations
 13  The cardholder is an authorised inspector of refrigeration associated with air conditioning installations
 14  The cardholder is an authorised designer of refrigeration and air conditioning installations

Because category ‘A’ deals with operation and semi-skilled personnel only two level may sign CoCs for practical purposes. ‘A2’ is authorised to install and maintain domestic (R290 and R600a) and light commercial refrigeration units and are not qualified in a trade.

In many cases this person is working on domestic refrigerators either for an appliance company or as an independent in the informal sector. There is a major drive in place by the Department of Environmental Forestry and Fishing, Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and the Department of Labour to improve their training and competence and to give recognition to these workers with registration at the South African Qualification and Certification Committee for Gas Installers and Gas Practitioners (SAQCC gas).

This is of primary importance because many, if not most small refrigeration units, are charged with hydrocarbons. Therefore, an understanding of the risks and dangers of handling flammable refrigerants, those classified as A3, A2 and A2L, must be taught and applied by these practitioners.

The second category ‘A’ practitioner permitted to sign a CoC is the person authorised to install and maintain room air conditioning units up to 18kW cooling capacity. In the future air-conditioning units will be charged with A3, A2 and A2L refrigerants necessitating new skills when installing, maintaining and repairing this equipment.

For those registered in Category B and C the signing and issuing of a CoC must be within the level of registration and competence. For example, an artisan practitioner registered as a specialist carbon dioxide (R744) refrigeration practitioner may only sign off a CO² gas charged system. Likewise, a practitioner as a specialist ammonia (R717) refrigeration practitioner may only sign a CoC for work he has done on an ammonia plant.