Risk-Based Inspection Technical Committee

Motivation & Proposal for RBI Technical Committee


In October 2009, the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) replaced  the “Vessels under Pressure (VuP) Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act of 1993 and this offered an alternative to pressure testing, whereby a Risk Based Inspection (RBI) programme may be utilised voluntarily, subject to Certification.

The implementation of an RBI programme in Eskom, Sasol and numerous other organisations, have shown to have material benefits in the management of it’s PER compliance.  These benefits are relevant to the general industry and could be extended to beyond the PER requirement.

Risk-Based Inspection is regarded as a sub-set of Condition Based Maintenance, in which maintenance activities are executed based on the risk profile of that particular component. This risk profile is determined by evaluating the likelihood and consequence of failure.  RBI is becoming popular in South Africa, mainly due to changes in the OHS Act, governing pressure equipment. It must be however noted that within the South African context, RBI is still in its infancy.


Eskom is an owner and operator of a large asset base and has a significant interest in the space of maintenance and asset management.  Eskom and Sasol for example, has recognised the relevance and significance of RBI to itself and appreciates that this is of interest to the broader regional industry, and it is with this intent that it aims to expand the awareness and understanding of implementing a RBI methodology that it therefore seeks to support the development and coordination of an Risk-Based Inspection Technical Committee.

It is the wish of SAAMA that Eskom, Sasol and other similar organisations that have implemented this RBI methodology openly engage with other stakeholders that have an interest in RBI and its implementation with the purpose of:

  • Improving awareness that an RBI programme can offer
  • Sharing and guiding strategies to implement an RBI programme
  • Accessibility to standards to support the RBI programme and the effective use thereof
  • Identification of key roles to support RBI and assist with informing the competency requirements
  • Identifying scope for RBI and the implementation process
  • Guidance on the Certification process
  • Advising on effective IT tools and systems to support the RBI program

To guide and shape the RBI methodology in South Africa, it is proposed that a “RBI Technical Committee” be developed under the Asset Management umbrella hosted by SAAMA and its international affiliates.

One of the key aims of this RBI Technical Committee would be to assist with development of maintenance of technical standards and guidelines in the areas of RBI, as well as to evaluate the suitability within the South African context and introduce these practices into the SA environment.  Simplification of the existing standards would allow for easier implementation and increase accessibility for interested stakeholders.

Furthermore a key objective would be to define the required skills and expertise in the area of risk engineering as a function to support RBI, which should encompass the following intentional aspects:

  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Assessment
  • Certification
  • Auditing
  • Risk Engineers
  • Risk Technologists
  • Risk Technician
  • RBI Auditors (specifically for pressure equipment)

This development should include application of non-destructive testing (NDT)  as well as an understanding of physical metallurgy and analysis thereof, which forms the background and contributes to a successful RBI Programme in organisations.

Eskom through its postgraduate research initiative has an objective to develop a national capability which performs research and development in the field of Risk Based Inspection and offers a lever to expand the capability to make it more applicable and self-sustaining for tertiary institutions.

Stakeholders are to be identified in various spheres of influence, such as:

  • All industries that have a need for Risk-based Inspection and at least those that have pressurised equipment.
  • Technical Research facilities.
  • Academic Research, such as Universities, Eskom EPPEI Programme and CSIR
  • Approved Inspection Authorities.
  • Approved Certification Bodies.
  • Standards and Certification Bodies, such as SANAS and SABS
  • Regulatory Bodies, such as DoL
  • Industry role players (eg. risk insurers)
  • Service Providers, such as NDT organisations

The RBI Technical Committee Programme should ideally pursue the following:

  • Within the first three-to-six months develop a Steering Committee with a Mandate and Terms of Reference, influenced by the Role Players.
  • Identify Sub-Topics and develop Study Committees – one month after.
  • Identify relevant SABS Technical Committees dealing with risk and pressure equipment and establish working relationship.
  • Establish working relationship with the DoL.
  • Establish links to International Bodies relevant to RBI (eg. Possibly become an Observer Member of CEN (European Norm Committee))
  • Engaging stakeholders across all the major industrial centres in South and Southern Africa.

The objectives spelt out should be achieved by creating awareness of the RBI Programmes through a network that will be engaged through this RBI Technical Committee.


To enhance the general awareness and application of RBI among key stakeholders, through conferences, breakfasts, workshops and the like should be organised to enable this subject discussion and further development of RBI subjects that need addressing.

Successful meeting of the first SAAMA Risk-Based Inspection Technical Committee

The 10th of October 2018 saw the first sitting of the SAAMA Risk-Based Inspection Technical Committee at the Eskom Megawatt Park facility. The SAAMA technical committee was attended by representatives from a broad and diverse group that spanned from energy and petro-chemical industries, asset management and maintenance service providers, one of the leading universities, regulatory and certification bodies and even the insurance industry.
Eskom, as the host of the technical committee, shared the role of RBI and the significant integration into its Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) programme. The programme focuses on building skills and competence across multiple layers from operational practitioners through to post-graduate research and development. RBI has been embraced by Eskom and other large industries with critical assets and all attendees at the committee recognized the importance to expanding this capability to a broader audience in the South African industry.
RBI was agreed by all present to not just be the methodology to ensure pressure equipment compliance but potentially an evolution to a more disciplined and informed maintenance strategy that bridges the move to advancing asset care and overall plant safety and integrity. The outcomes of the first meeting proposed a focus on RBI priorities that extend from education and training in RBI, professionalization of key roles, process and implementation standards and leveraging experience and lessons-learned to advance RBI into a broader environment.
The enthusiasm from the well-attended meeting is a most encouraging indicator of things to come for the RBI Technical Committee. The next meeting is planned to be held by end November 2018 and SAAMA members may request information or an invitation to attend through SAAMA at logan.reddy@saama.org.za.