New compulsory specification for luminaires

February 19th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector

by Connie Jonker, IESSA

Since the first publication of the compulsory specification for electrical and electronic appliances, Government Notice 466 in 1981, which was later replaced by VC8055, the specification covered a large range of electrical appliances, including luminaires. This had the disadvantage that the stakeholders participating in the development of the compulsory specification come from different technological backgrounds. This means that each has a different focus on the safety requirements to be regulated. While this has had a negative effect on the content and development of specification VC8055 and the method of regulation, the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) and other technical associations requested the revision of VC8055 into various parts, covering different product groups. Following this request, NRCS approved a new project to develop a compulsory specification for luminaires, VC9012.

This project also included the new NRCS approach, whereby the safety risk of the products categories are evaluated and graded to distinguish between high, medium and low risk products. For the various luminaire types, the risks of electrical shock, fire and burns were evaluated. The outcome of this risk assessment was used to formulate the scope of VC9012, which now gives a much clearer selection of luminaire types covered by the compulsory specification and the types of luminaires excluded. It is believed the new draft specification will address many of the issues raised on the VC8055 scope.

The proposed scope of VC9012 mainly covers portable luminaires, luminaires which are touched regularly, handled or adjusted¬†luminaires and luminaires installed by the “ordinary” person. Luminaires installed by skilled persons in fixed installations are generally excluded. Although there are still some grey areas in the luminaire types covered, the new scope should give far more clarity to users.

The new draft also makes provision for two types of approval, namely the present LoA system based on type approval and also a system for luminaires manufactured under a Type 5 product certification scheme, where conformity of production and audit reports issued by the product certification body are used as a basis for renewal of LoAs. Once a final agreement is reached between SABS and NRCS, industry will be informed on the processes to be applied for the regulation of SABS certified luminaires.

The new draft VC9012 has developed through the working group stage and is now ready for further processing and approval by NRCS management. It is expected that VC9012 will be circulated by NRCS for comment during the first quarter of 2014.

Contact Connie Jonker, IESSA technical advisor, iessa.advice@gmail.com

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