The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993), defines an Approved Inspection Authority as:
an inspection authority approved by the chief inspector: Provided that an inspection authority approved by the chief inspector with respect to any particular service shall be an Approved Inspection Authority with respect to that service only.
The question then arises, what is an inspection authority? The Act defines an inspection authority as:
any person who with the aid of specialised knowledge or equipment or after such investigations, tests, sampling or analyses as he may consider necessary, and whether for reward or otherwise, renders a service by making special findings, purporting to be objective findings, as to—
a) the health of any person;
b) the safety or risk to health of any work, article, substance, plant or machinery, or any condition prevalent on or in any premises; or
c) the question of whether any particular standard has been or is being complied with, with respect to any work, article, substance, plant or machinery, or with respect to work or a condition prevalent on or in any premises or with respect to any other matter, and by issuing a certificate, stating such findings, to the person to whom the service is rendered.
The AIA will follow accepted methodologies and procedures to anticipate, recognise, identify, evaluate and prepare recommendations to reduce and or minimise exposures to any health risks in the workplace. The meaning of a certificate [2.(c)] should also be read as a report/statement/certificate as pertaining to each specific situation.
PURPOSE OF AN AIA
The Department of Labour has deemed it unreasonable to expect the employers or health and safety representatives to be specialists in occupational hygiene, and therefore provision was made for Approved Inspection Authorities to assist them in complying with certain requirements of the Act.