NRCS seeks to regulate all categories of PPE: 'No new levies imminent'
Published: 9th Oct 2019
Pretoria, Gauteng, SA - The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has confirmed that it is "looking at the regulation of PPE as a whole", but it says that it is a process that will take time.
"We will be having a lot of consultations with industry and key stakeholders," said Thomas Madzivhe, GM: Chemicals, Mechanical & Materials at the NRCS. "There aren't any imminent changes."
Only 2 categories of PPE - respiratory protection and safety footwear - are currently regulated by the NRCS. That involves the NRCS issuing approval numbers for products which meet the requirements of the relevant standards. The NRCS charges suppliers of regulated products a levy per item.
Reacting to concerns about the introduction of levies on other categories of PPE, Madzivhe said the NRCS was not about to introduce new levies. "This is a long process."
The SA Protective Equipment Marketing Association (SAPEMA), representing most branded suppliers of PPE, wasn't opposed to greater control over the industry, vice-chairman Clyde Beattie said, but it was concerned that the NRCS didn't have the capacity to do so effectively, and that the new measures would add to the cost of PPE without improving its quality and uniform adherence to standards.
Following the NRCS's announcement at its levy consultation meetings in August that ALL safety products are to be regulated, Beattie said SAPEMA didn't object to audits by the NRCS, provided they audited all suppliers.
But he said SAPEMA's view was that the NRCS was understaffed and undertrained, and that it wasn't in a position to effectively police the entire industry.
He said the NRCS had reported that its surplus from levy income (on all industries) had risen from R1.6 million in 2016 to R84 million last year.
"If they were using the levies to employ and train inspectors, it would be more understandable," he said. "As it is, there is enough concern for us to ask questions."
He said SAPEMA wasn't "going in guns blazing", but was waiting for the NRCS to give it a timeline for the implementation of the new policy, and an estimate of costs. "Then we can decide what to do."