The Lowvelder

Man dies while refilling fire extinguish­er

- Linzetta Calitz

MBOMBELA - A Bayteck Fire Nelspruit technician tragically lost his life in what can only be described as a freak accident this week.

Sibusiso Malaza was in the process of refilling a fire extinguish­er when it exploded, leading to his death. The cause of the explosion is still unknown. This is according to Mbombela Fire & Rescue, which attended the scene.

The manager of Bayteck Fire Nelspruit, Shaun Kleyn, said an investigat­ion into the matter was launched and is still ongoing. He said the Department of Labour was contacted immediatel­y following the incident and the Nelspruit SAPS was also on the scene.

Captain Zandile Gqawa, the spokespers­on for the Nelspruit SAPS, confirmed the incident.

Kleyn confirmed that Malaza was accredited by the South African

Qualificat­ion and Certificat­ion Committee (SAQCC). “It is tragic, what happened. We are very sad about it,” said Kleyn, who did want to comment any further until the company had come into contact with Malaza’s family.

Thato Mokoena, who said he had worked with Malaza for two years, said, “He was a good, down-to-earth guy. He was always smiling and loved his family and friends. He will surely be missed.”

Lowvelder approached Tim de Bruyn, the managing director of Alute SA, who explained some regulation­s, what the process of refilling a fire extinguish­er is, and the dangers involved when it is not done correctly. Alute SA provides training and consulting as well as supply and maintenanc­e services in the fields of security, fire, health and safety.

“Fire extinguish­ers are pressure vessels, and as such they are subject to stringent legislated manufactur­ing, maintenanc­e and test requiremen­ts, during manufactur­e as well as throughout its lifespan,” said De Bruyn.

“It is highly unlikely that a fire extinguish­er will rupture and explode if it is maintained in the proper manner, even if (contrary to popular belief) the extinguish­er is subject to elevated temperatur­es, which can increase the internal pressure of the vessel. This is due to the safety devices fitted to all approved fire extinguish­ers that will activate and depressuri­se the vessel safely before reaching burst pressure.”

De Bruyn said fire extinguish­ers must be maintained by a technician registered by the SAQCC and must be in the employ of a company accredited in terms of the South African National Standard (SANS) 1475. The SAQCC-registered technician is trained by accredited training institutio­ns like Alute SA and must complete at least six months’ training under a registered technician. Only then, if they meet all requiremen­ts and they receive their SAQCC registrati­on card, can they conduct maintenanc­e on a fire extinguish­er.

 ?? ?? Sibusiso Malaza. > Photo: Supplied
Sibusiso Malaza. > Photo: Supplied
 ?? ?? > Photo: Mbombela Fire & Rescue
> Photo: Mbombela Fire & Rescue
 ?? ?? The fire extinguish­er after it had exploded.
The fire extinguish­er after it had exploded.

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