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Does your company use large refrigeration systems? Here's how to inspect them

by , 04 October 2013
All refrigeration systems must comply with the SABS Code of Practice 0147. This applies to businesses using large refrigeration systems (not domestic fridges). If you're one of these companies, read on to discover what the law says about inspecting refrigeration equipment.

According to the Health&Safety Advisor, employers AND employees are responsible for ensuring that refrigeration systems are operated correctly, healthily and safely.

To do this efficiently, it's crucial that you abide by these rules when inspecting your refrigeration equipment.

What you MUST know about inspecting refrigeration equipment

#1: All refrigeration systems must be under the control of a competent person. This means a competent person must inspect the refrigeration plant daily. In the case of manned compressor rooms, keep a logbook.

#2: In the case of refrigeration operated other than by inert or nontoxic gas, make sure you provide rescue masks, breathing apparatus, ropes, harnesses and a deluge shower for you employees.

#3: Delegate (in writing) a competent person to perform checks on the safety equipment every three months.

#4: Keep in mind that ammonia receivers can't be inspected in terms of pressure vessel requirements. You must get an exemption for this from the Inspector of Labour.

Legally, all pressure vessels (receivers) must undergo a hydrostatic (pressure) test at least every three years. Normally, a pressure vessel would contain air. But, in the case of a refrigeration vessel, the contents might be ammonia. This is a very dangerous gas if released.

To pressure test the vessel, the ammonia would have to be removed and kept somewhere. This isn't practical. Therefore, exemption from doing the pressure tests in such a case can be granted.

#5: Check gas rescue equipment every month. This must be done by the Health and Safety Representative as part of his normal inspection.

#6: Your gas rescue equipment, usage records and checks must form part of the refrigeration (or similar) logbook record.

Remember, all refrigeration systems must comply with the SABS Code of Practice 0147. So make sure you comply with these requirements when inspecting refrigeration equipment to avoid penalties.

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