Government to enforce safety laws

Compulsory safety specifications for paraffin stoves and heaters, which take effect in January, were welcomed by the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa (PSASA) this week.

Compulsory safety specifications for paraffin stoves and heaters, which take effect in January, were welcomed by the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa (PSASA) this week.

The new specifications were announced by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

"This landmark announcement is good news. It will have a positive effect on the lives of an estimated 17million to 20million daily users of paraffin in South Africa," said Teri Kruger, of PSASA.

"Paraffin is likely to remain the most affordable, convenient and practical energy source for many South Africans for the foreseeable future," she said.

Stoves and heaters that do not conform to the standards will be illegal from next year.

The DTI's decision to enforce the safety regulations followed a report released by the PSASA in 2004 that revealed that none of the nine most popular models of paraffin stove had been approved by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

"The most commonly used paraffin stove, the non-pressure or wick stove, failed all the key safety tests. The stoves had leaking fuel containers, excessively high fuel temperatures and combustion problems. There were no markings or instructions on the stoves.

"Because the non-pressure stove makes up about 60percent of the market for paraffin stoves it was widely believed to be the culprit in fires that led to entire communities losing their homes and livelihoods," said Kruger.

The absence of appropriate packaging, labelling and instructions for handling, transporting, storing and decanting paraffin from stoves was also a fire hazard.

The PSASA said it would monitor the compliance of manufactures and retailers with the regulation jointly with the SABS. - Sapa

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