This descriptive article is not a substitute for the recommendations of your regular inspection service provider and third party organizations.
COVID-19 is pushing us to rethink our work processes and change our habits. The same applies to an operating site with pressure equipment monitored under the Ministerial Order of November 20, 2017.
In this case, the changes have gradually begun on the side of the inspectors following the successive publications of the ordinance n°2020-306 of 26/03/2020 (relating to the extension of deadlines that have expired during the health emergency period and to the adaptation of procedures during this same period) and of the decree n°2020-383 of 01/04/2020 having respectively suspended, then renewed, under exemption, the course of the deadlines for fulfilling the requirements of the operators
The order of April 9, 2020 considers, rightly, that the coordination of “many providers” during the “operation of Great Stop” can lead to “disproportionate difficulties” in the conditions related to the health emergency (see photo below).
The decree does not go into further detail on this subject, but we can easily understand the desire to limit the comings and goings of operational staff to the strict minimum. Postponing deadlines as much as possible in order to spread them out over time is the chosen method.
Thus, the order of April 9, 2020 provides “special measures” to frame the work of inspectors.
Indeed, the present decree allows the operator of an establishment monitored by a CRS to decide to extend the deadlines for control operations (inspections, periodic requalifications and other surveillance actions provided for by this article) up to six months after the date of cessation of the state of health emergency.
In addition, it is decided that the ITS has the competence to determine whether the condition of the equipment allows for the delay of the regulatory control operation without affecting its safety level.
Consequently, the operator acknowledges the conclusions of his CRS and sets the date for the next inspection, at the latest within the time limit set by the order.
Equipment can benefit from the deferral measures if it covers the following conditions:
The procedure laid down in paragraph II of Article 31 of the Order of 20 November 2017 (Order on the in-service monitoring of pressure equipment and simple pressure vessels) does not apply to equipment covered by the Order of 9 April 2020 during the period set. This means that the operator is not obliged to apply for a deferment of deadlines to the administrative authorities.
However, the operator is required to inform the administrative authority of its decision to apply the order of April 9, 2020 for such equipment “by any means”.
Facilities without a CRS, or for equipment monitored by a CRS, but without an IP, may request the application of special conditions of control whose term does not exceed six months after the end of the state of health emergency, but under paragraph II of Article 31 of the Order of November 20, 2017.
That is, in the above-mentioned cases, the operator is obliged to apply to the administrative authorities for a postponement of the deadlines under the conditions regulated in the above-mentioned article 31.
However, there are exceptions to this obligation:
For more details, see the full decree of April 9, 2020 published in the JORF.
The order of April 9, 2020 only deals with pressure equipment. However, we think it is important to monitor the possible publication of a text for equipment subject to the modernization plan (PM2i). This concerns storage tanks, retention basins, certain piping systems, etc… .
This is an important question, because the context for this equipment is different. Indeed, the notion of CRS does not apply to it. We believe that it is necessary to also provide a framework for the postponement of the deadlines for these facilities.
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