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Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)

Guidance Notes

Pressure Equipment Regulations, 2009

Regulation 11 - Inspection and Test


(1) Subject to the requirements of the relevant health and safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act, the user shall cause—
(a) steam generators or pressure vessels, including pressure and safety accessories, after they are installed or re-installed and before they are commissioned, to be subjected to a witnessed internal and external inspection of a hydraulic pressure test to 1,25 times the design pressure by an approved inspection authority: Provided that Category I equipment as categorized in terms of SANS 347 may be inspected, tested and witnessed by the user: Provided further that the user may, subject to the written approval of an approved inspection authority, dispense with the internal inspection and hydraulic pressure test where it could have an adverse effect on the operation or integrity of the pressure equipment;
(b) piping to be inspected and tested by the manufacturer after manufacture, installation, modification or repair and before commissioning in accordance with the relevant health and safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act, and, where applicable, to be witnessed by an approved inspection authority: Provided that Category I equipment as categorized in terms of SANS 347 may be inspected, tested and witnessed by the user;
(c) every fire-tube steam generator to be subjected to an external inspection every 12 months and a witnessed hydraulic test and crack detection of critical welds every 36 months, by an approved inspection authority for in-service inspection appointed by the user in writing;
(d) every pressure vessel and steam generator, excluding those referred to in subregulations (3), to be subjected to an internal and external inspection and a hydraulic test to a pressure of 1,25 times the design pressure by an approved inspection authority for in-service inspection appointed by the user in writing, at intervals not exceeding 36 months: Provided that Category I equipment as categorized in terms of SANS 347 may be inspected and tested by the user: Provided further that where the pressure equipment is not subject to deterioration processes, the user may dispense with the internal inspection and hydraulic pressure test, subject to a maximum period of nine years for that pressure vessel or steam generator and written approval by an approved inspection authority: Provided further that the chief inspector may require a specific steam generator or pressure vessel to be inspected or tested more frequently; and
(e) all piping and pipelines to be inspected and tested in accordance with the relevant inservice health and safety standard: Provided that where the health and safety standard does not prescribe in-service inspections and test intervals, such intervals shall be determined by a risk-based inspection applying sound engineering practice: Provided further that such inspection and test for Category II equipment and higher as categorized in terms of SANS 347 shall be performed by a competent person referred to in regulations 1 of the General Machinery Regulations, 1988.


(2) Where it is impracticable to use a liquid for the hydraulic pressure test referred to in subregulations (1)(d) or (e), the test may, subject to the prior written approval of an approved inspection authority, be carried out with an inert gas to a pressure of 1,1 times the design pressure: Provided that, where reasonably practicable, the test shall be preceded by an internal inspection and any conditions and precautionary measures determined by the user and approved by the approved inspection authority.


(3) Where an inspection or test carried out in terms of sub regulations (1)(c), (d) and (e) reveals any weakness or defect whereby the safety of persons may be endangered, the weakness or defect shall be reported forthwith to the user by the person carrying out the inspection or test and the user shall forthwith cease the use of the pressure equipment until such weakness or defect has been rectified to the satisfaction of the person who carried out the inspection and the approved inspection authority concerned in cases of modifications or repairs, as the case may be, or the steam generator, pressure vessel or storage vessel has been re-rated to the satisfaction of the approved inspection authority.




(a) No qualifications for the user is defined in order to inspect Category I and lower equipment, but the person should have knowledge of and experience in the requirements of the Pressure Equipment Regulations and the applicable health and safety standard.
(b) Witnessed inspections and tests, means that the person performing the inspection is present during the pressure test required by the PER and performs the internal and external inspections.
(c) PER 11(1)(b) requires the manufacture who does the final assembly to inspect and issue a Certificate of Manufacture, co-signed by AIA where applicable and verify that the installation meets the PER requirements. This does not require a manufacturer who manufactures and certifies a pipe section which will be installed by the user to inspect and test the pipe before commissioning. The user shall take accountability for the installation (bolt-on) and certifies that the installation meets the requirements of the PER.
(d) "Critical Weld – are deemed to be all tube sheets to shell welds that were not made as full penetration welds or other welds whose failure can result in a catastrophic incident and shall be surface crack and ultrasonically tested. The critical welds in fire- tube boilers are Shell – to Endplates, Furnace to Endplates, Access tube to Endplates and Ash Drop out chutes to Furnace and Shell. These welds are specified in Guidelines for the examination of Boiler Shell to End plate and Furnace to Endplate and Welded joints published by Safety Assessment Federation Limited, London, UK”
(e) Waste heat steam generators are not deemed to be fire tube steam generators.
(f) The intent of PER 11(1)(d) is to provide two routes for extension of in-service inspection intervals for Category I – IV equipment not subject to deterioration processes: For deterioration mechanisms resulting in predictable material loss only, the extension may be granted based on proven history to a maximum of 9 years (the corrosion allowance may not be consumed within 20 years); and for all other deterioration mechanisms PER 12 applies. This extension may not be granted by the in-service inspection authority.
(g) Approval for permanent dispensation from the in-service hydraulic pressure test when requested by the user, may be granted by an approved inspection authority (AIA Manufacturing), Provided that the equipment is subjected to appropriate inspections and tests based on Health and Safety Standards as listed in SANS 347 which includes as a minimum, a visual inspection, and appropriate non-destructive testing to detect the expected deterioration associated with the service condition or appropriate non-intrusive inspection of internal surfaces and representative visual external inspection.
(h) In PER 11(1)(e) the competent person, as defined in GMR 1, shall be a person competent in his field of activity. The GMR 2.1 shall appoint a person to perform these inspections and test after confirming that they have appropriate knowledge and experience.
(i) As per PER 11(1)(e) all existing piping and pipelines need to be inspected in accordance with relevant in-service health and safety standards inspection requirements. Risk assessment approach is required and not a full RBI as per PER 12.
(j) Pressure and safety accessories do not need to be attached during in-service inspection and tests but are required during pre-commissioning inspections. Safety accessories shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements of an appropriate Health and Safety Standard or to a maximum inspection interval equivalent to the pressure equipment it protects. The AIA is not required to witness the resetting of the pressure safety accessory.
(k) Non flammable gas such as air may be used in lieu of inert gas for pneumatic testing. ASME PCC-2 may be used as guidance for safety precautions during pneumatic testing.
(l) SAQCC CP steam generator and SAQCC CP Vessel inspectors have to do inspection under control of the quality control system of an AIA for in-service inspection. Free-lance inspectors are not allowed to inspect equipment as from the 1 April 2011.
(m) Equipment that was previously exempted from inspection and testing under VUP rules such as in refrigeration plants and gas installations inspections may only be dispensed with up to 9 years. Implementation of an RBI management system as stipulated in PER 12 is required to extend intervals beyond 9 years. For refrigeration systems compliance to SANS 10147 in service inspection requirements in lieu of the RBI management system is acceptable. Dispensation as stated above must be approved by an Approved Inspection Authority.

Alternatively exemptions need to be applied for by the relevant users or industry bodies from the DoL. Exemptions issued to industry bodies will only be valid for the members of the relevant body.

(n) The intent of the pre-commissioning inspection by the AIA is to verify that the user is in full compliance with the PER If the user or his representative deems the equipment to be adversely affected by the internal inspection and pressure test such as in complex equipment, assemblies, heat exchangers etc. the user may apply for approval of dispensation to the AIA. The AIA as a minimum shall verify that pressure equipment, while being transported, erected or worked on was not damaged, that no unauthorized hot work was performed without AIA verification.
(o) Existing equipment regulated prior to the PER may retain the existing inspection intervals until the first inspection after the PER came into effect. There after full compliance to the inspection interval requirements of the PER shall be adhered to including the implementation of RBI.
(p) PER 11(2) also applies to PER 11(1)(a)
(q) Where reference is made in the PER to AIA, it refers to manufacturing AIA. Reference to the Inservice AIA is for the in-service inspection function only. See guide note under PER 7.
(r) Refrigeration and air conditioning systems shall be inspected and tested in accordance with PER 11.1.(a) and (d).
(s) Transportable gas containers shall be inspected by a SANAS accredited and DoL approved gas test station.
(t) Bladder/piston type accumulators are also classified as pressure accessories
(u) The intent of the 12 monthly external online visual inspection of fire tube steam generators is only to detect any visible steam leaks associated with the critical welds as mentioned in note (d) above.
(v) The user is not responsible for the inspection activities for rented pressure equipment, this responsibility remains with the owner, unless otherwise agreed by the contracting parties.
(w) Deferment requested by the user, of inspection and tests as per 11.1(d) may only be approved by an AIA in writing to a maximum period of 6 months and subjected to the provisos of the AIA.
(x) The Pre-commissioning dates allocated to pressure vessels and steam generators that form part of an integrated process unit, is the date of commissioning as per design intent of the process unit and not the individual equipment. The equipment in-service inspection and test interval commences on this date.