The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Safety Association of South Africa has been investing in improving its LPG technicians’ installation training through collaboration with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) as one of its mandates for the LPG sector.
“This will enable us to ensure that we are meeting the national standards, particularly in terms of training new entrants to the industry. This allows for the training we provide to become more acceptable to the wider public, and hopefully ensures the increased safe use of LPG,” says LPG Safety Association acting MD Nirvan Brijlal.
The mandate to train LPG installers includes stringent exams, and the completion of a portfolio of completed installations that are counter-signed by an experienced mentor. The portfolio of evidence is then submitted to the association for assessment and approval before becoming registered as a qualified LP Gas Installer. Trainees are then registered in appropriate grades, which provides work opportunities.
Trainees are, however, informed of changing standards, new technologies and health and safety regulations every three years. This also ensures that installers are aware of changing legislation and have licences that are updated.
Brijlal highlights constantly evolving technology and legislation as significant reasons for the association’s constantly evaluating and improving training.
“The training is practical and theoretical. We’re enhancing our training, however, and are making significant changes to the practical side. We moved into a new training facility, in Kya Sand in Johannesburg, five years ago, and plan to revamp these training facilities and initiatives in future.”
He adds that the association is also considering the prospect of expanding training initiatives to the rest of the country, as the association currently operates out of its head offices, in Johannesburg.
Brijlal emphasises that higher standards for skills have become particularly important amid the recent trends of the illegal filling of gas cylinders in the distribution chain, which undermines vital health and safety practices.
He states that the association is working with the DEL, as well as emergency services utilities, such as fire departments, to conduct inspections on various gas-filling sites to curb the impact of illegal filling.
Meanwhile, the Vision in Energy LPG Conference, which the association would have hosted in May, will be postponed, owing to the recent Covid-19 outbreak.
The conference, which is supported by the World LPG Association and attracts international delegations, with various products and technologies exhibited, provides an outlet for important discussions on infrastructure and investment pertaining to the LPG market.
A new date for the conference has not been set yet, but the most likely windows are September or October, or March next year.