The Department of Labour (DoL) will host Training on the Major Hazard Installation Regulations (MHI) on the 18th February 2013 and an MHI Seminar on the 19th February 2013. This forms part of a continued drive to create awareness in health and ensure safety awareness in all MHI workplaces.
The hosting of the Training and the Seminar, takes place at a critical juncture as the Department of Labour is on the verge of amending and modernising the regulations and bringing it in line with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.
The Training and the Seminar will be held at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg. The Training and the Seminar will be held from 08h30-16h00 on both days. It is anticipated that the Training and the Seminar will draw at least 400 delegates.
The training on the first day is targeted at the employee representatives and DoL inspectors. They will be taken through intensive training on MHI issues. The second day will be a seminar, which will be addressed by a number of experts in the MHI field from both the department and industry.
The DoL’s acting Deputy Director-General: Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) Thobile Lamati, will deliver a keynote address on the last day. He is expected to share the stage with IES’s Chief Director: Statutory & Advocacy Services: Virgil Seafield and Tibor Szana, Director: Explosives and Civil Engineering.
The seminar will also be addressed by representatives from Petro SA; Integrated Safety, Health & Environment Consultants (ISCHECON); Municipal experts; RISCOM – an Approved Inspection Authority (AIA) for Major Hazard Installation; Council for Planners; and the South Africa National Accreditation System (SANAS).
A Major Hazard Installation refers to – “an installation where any substance is produced, processed, used, handled or stored in such a form and quantity that it has the potential to cause a major incident or an occurrence of catastrophic proportions, resulting from the use of plant and machinery, or from activities at a workplace”.
The main purpose of the MHI Regulations is to protect the general public at large and in so doing, to prevent the release of: toxic; reactive; flammable, or explosive chemicals in the form of gasses, vapours and the like. In South African legislation, explosives in the workplaces and nuclear facilities are covered under other legislation.
Major hazard installations are most commonly/typically: petrochemical works/facilities and refineries, chemical works and production plants, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stores and terminals, chemical stores and distribution centres, large fertilizer stores, chlorine used/stored in bulk ammonia used/stored in bulk … to mention but a few of the common installations.
The department has identified the Iron and Steel; Construction; Agriculture and Forestry; and Chemical sectors as high risk sectors in order to improve the compliance levels within these sectors in relation to workplace health and safety.
Rudzani Ramabulana Deputy Director: Explosives & Major Hazard Installations at DoL said the seminar was long-overdue and would provide delegates with an opportunity to share information on latest developments within the MHI sector.
According to Ramabulana, in terms of OHS Act, every employer, self-employed person and user, shall notify the chief inspector, provincial director and relevant local government in writing, of an erection of any installation that will be a major hazard installation.
Ramabulana said with the OHS Act currently under review, the draft regulations were also planned to be amended to align with changing dynamics in Occupational Health and Safety, and the sector as a whole. He said the first MHI regulations were promulgated in 1998, when South Africa was at an “initial or entry” phase.
“We have now made tremendous strides as a country. We need to redirect ourselves to ensure that we are on par with the latest developments in the rest of the world. We have in the past imported MHI regulations and have matured to the point where we can develop our own regulations locally,” Ramabulana said.
Advances have also been made over the past five years, Ramabulana said many employers have started notifying the department of their MHI facilities as evidenced by an increase in the number of risk assessment notifications submitted.
“More employers are conducting risk assessments, and we in turn, issue letters of acknowledgement in response. Failure to comply with any component of the law will trigger the Inspectorate of the DoL to take steps to recommend prosecutions where it is deemed necessary, as the safety of the employees and the public is not negotiable.
“In terms of the law, employers who have MHI’s on their premises are required to review their risk assessments for their facilities every five years. A risk assessment is not a once-off event, but a process,” Ramabulana said.
For more information on the MHI Training and Seminar contact:
Tel: 012 309-4098