Free online flammable refrigerants safety guide
AIRAH has released a free online guide covering the management of health and safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants.
AIRAH, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, has released its Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide. The guide – which was developed by independent organisations and stakeholders – covers the management of health and safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants.
It covers the health and safety risks involved in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, conversion, commissioning, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of HVAC&R equipment and systems that contain a flammable refrigerant.
The use of flammable low-global-warming-potential (low-GWP) synthetic and hydrocarbon refrigerants will grow due to increasing concerns around high-GWP synthetic greenhouse gases (SGGs), according to AIRAH CEO, Phil Wilkinson. Yet, Wilkinson says that there has been little guidance around the safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants and the equipment that uses them.
“We need to ensure that, as the use of alternative refrigerants picks up, our industry is properly equipped to work safely, efficiently and professionally with any refrigerant they encounter,” he states. “While having less impact on the environment, flammable refrigerants combust much more readily than the refrigerants traditionally used. The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide will provide guidance across a range of areas where workers or end-users come into contact with flammable refrigerant.”
In Australia, flammable refrigerants are already used in domestic refrigerators, small integral commercial cabinets, fluid chillers and industrial refrigeration. Their use is expected to continue to grow in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications, as well as in commercial and residential air conditioning.
Hydrocarbon refrigerants, a common flammable alternative to SGGs, are broadly available in Australia. Various flammable synthetic fluorocarbon refrigerants are also available, or are expected to be available in the near future.
The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide specifically applies to all stationary (while in use) refrigerating systems of all sizes, including air-conditioners and heat pumps that are to be charged with flammable refrigerants with a refrigerant classification of A2 or A3, or any other refrigerant that meets the criteria to be classified as an A2 or A3 refrigerant.
The guide does not cover non-stationary (while in use) applications of flammable refrigerants such as in-vehicle air-conditioning (cars, trucks, busses, trains, boats, aircraft) or transport refrigeration (road, rail, air, marine).
The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide is available to download free from the Technical Resources section of www.airah.org.au.
AIRAH acknowledges support received from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) in developing the safety guide. A taskforce of 25 individuals worked on the guide, led by taskforce chair Kevin Lee, M.AIRAH. The following organisations were represented on the taskforce: AREMA, AIRAH, ARWA, AFAC, CCCA, Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland), DSEWPaC, E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, ERAC, Fire and Rescue NSW, GTRC, IRHACE, QFRS, RWTA, Standards New Zealand, TAFE NSW, Workcover NSW, Work Health and Safety Queensland, WorkSafe Victoria.