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From the president's desk
4th Quarter 2011, SAFPA

Know the law: swimming pools and pressure vessels

Having recently joined the happy yet poorer part of our population called ‘parents’ there is a lot that I have had to re-learn on all aspects of my direct environment. We might say we are ready, we might say we are prepared, we might say we have our ducks in a row, but truth be told it is like having a glass of ice water thrown into your face. Having kids wakes you up.

One of the issues we are currently dealing with is our swimming pool. I have got used to the fact that our pool attracts all the falling leaves for the greater Johannesburg area every time the wind blows, but now it needs a fence. In my research I have come across a draft document from the City of Johannesburg that spells out what the city believes are the minimum requirements for owning a pool. Two of the proposed mandatory requirements are: EVERY homeowner must register their pool with the city; and EVERY homeowner must fence their pool, irrespective of whether there are children on the property or not. I would suggest all pool owners should have a read, it is available at

With respect to SAFPA, I am going to concentrate my efforts on the new pressure vessel regulations which became law on 1 April 2011. I believe most hydraulic suppliers and customers are not familiar with these regulations. What is more concerning is that any air receiver (read compressor in your garage) larger than 5 litres is also subject to this law.

As a supplier, you take on the responsibility of the manufacturer. These responsibilities include:

All accumulators greater than one litre, imported into or manufactured in South Africa must have their design calculations checked, verified and signed off by a South African AIA (Approved Inspection Authority).

All accumulators greater than one litre, imported into or manufactured in South Africa must be accompanied by a copy of the certificate of manufacture. The original certificate must be kept by the South African importer/manufacturer for a period of 12 years.

All accumulators greater than one litre, imported into or manufactured in South Africa must have a data plate bearing at least the following information: name of manufacturer; country of origin, year of manufacture; serial number; design standard; pressure rating; min and max design temperatures; volume; hazard category and original AIA mark.

As a customer/user, your responsibilities include:

All accumulators greater than one litre must be pressure tested every three years in general industry, and every two years in mining. Exemptions are available from the Department of Mineral Resources regarding certain regulations around accumulators in the mining industry.

This testing must be performed by a Competent Person as authorised by the South African Qualification & Certification Committee, AND who is in the full time employment of an AIA or an AIA in-service. Because of this new legislation, there is a backlog of applications from companies for AIA registration. The Department of Labour has thus issued interim permission to some companies to continue testing pressure vessels. This DoL certificate must be presented with all testing of accumulators by any company not yet registered as an AIA.

The original certificate of manufacture and all subsequent testing certificates must be kept by the user for as long as the accumulator is in operation.

The user must ensure that a pressure vessel has a data plate. Often this information is stamped on the shell of an accumulator.


Norman Hall

Supplied By: SA Fluid Power Association (SAFPA)
Tel: +27 11 888 7163
Fax: 086 589 2158
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