Against a background of ever-tightening legislation focusing on safety in the workplace, Afrox has deployed 17 highly trained regional safety specialists into the field to conduct safety audits and undertake risk assessments at client sites as a value added service to its customer base.
Focusing on Afrox’s Harris and Saffire product ranges, the safety specialists are also equipped to offer safety lectures and instruct operators in the safe handling and usage of Afrox gas and gas equipment, as well as the safe storage and transportation of gases.
Hennie van Rhyn, National Safety and Gas Equipment Specialist at Afrox, says: “As the market leader, we felt it was time to give something back to the industry in the form of a safety initiative that will ensure that our customers have peace of mind about their gas installations. At no extra cost to our clients we’re offering this specialised safety-oriented service to help them comply with their legal obligations but is important that the correct criteria is adhered to.
“For instance, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers using hazardous equipment on site to ensure this equipment is being used in a safe manner at all times and that it is kept in good working order. It is therefore extremely important for managers to ensure that equipment purchased complies with the relevant standards – in the case of regulators, this is SANS 2503, for torches ISO 5172, hoses SANS 3821 and 1156/2 and flashback arrestors SANS 50730-1.
“As a manufacturer and distributor of gases and gas equipment, we also have a legal obligation to notify our customers of the dangers and risks associated with their usage.
“Our specialists have been trained not only in line with Afrox safety standards, but also in compliance with South African National Standards requirements,” says van Rhyn. “They are authorised to issue a certificate of compliance that protects the company from product liability associated with our products and equipment. It is important, from a liability point of view, that customers understand that only Afrox-certified specialists are allowed to certify Afrox’s gas equipment as safe.”
“The team will also conduct regular follow-ups to ensure that these high levels of safety are sustained.”
Afrox is the only company to offer this high level service, which includes generating risk assessment reports and assisting with equipment upgrades to ensure legal compliance.
Caution against unsafe gas equipment
Despite the intensifying legal pressure to ensure workplace safety, unsafe gas equipment continues to find its way into industry, where it is threatening the safety of operators and exposing managers and employers to the risk of prosecution.
“Gas welding and cutting equipment operators and their supervisors must maintain their vigilance against this equipment, which is now often backed by forged certificates of compliance,” he cautions. “The equipment does not comply with South African or international safety and quality standards. It has been available for a number of years and until now has often displayed false standards and markings, which made it difficult for the average purchaser or user to easily identify it as sub-standard.
“To overcome this problem we have in the past advised purchasers to ask the sales person for a certificate of compliance from the relevant approvals agency. Now, unfortunately, even these certificates are being forged by unscrupulous suppliers.”