The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has produced a report on the findings of an independent survey carried out to discover and review safety issues within the HVACR industry.

AIRAH conducted a five-week survey late last year with the intention of reaching out to technical service providers on the topic of safety across the industry.

After collecting and carefully reviewing the responses, AIRAH has produced its Safety in the HVACR Industry report, which pinpoints the main safety issues highlighted by respondents.  Importantly, the report also lists recommendations and a proposed “next steps” to help address increasing concerns regarding safety risks in the HVACR sector.

The four main areas of concern are quality and training, access to plant, working fluids hazards, and electrical hazards.

AIRAH CEO, Tony Gleeson, said the organisation receives a lot of comments and enquiries about safety.

“As a response, we felt it was necessary to run a national survey in collaboration with a range of industry associations to
obtain a coalface perspective on HVACR safety. Naturally, this project also provides additional evidence and insights for
AIRAH to progress its strategic advocacy theme of compliance," Gleeson said.

A wide range of industry professionals responded to the survey, including licensed refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, installation and commissioning contractors, service and maintenance contractors, TAFE trainers and students, manufacturers and suppliers, facilities managers, and compliance and WHS auditors.

The results of the survey show there is a high level of concern about safety.

AIRAH executive manager for government relations and technical services, Phil Wilkinson, said an industry-wide strategy is needed to create a firm direction to improve standards and outcomes.

“We found the increased safety risks and higher ongoing costs associated with poor access to HVACR plant and equipment
are ‘designed in’ to systems from day one,” he said.

“There is a market failure at play in many scenarios. For example, those who pay for the additional capital costs to provide safe access during the construction are different from those who will pay for the increased ongoing costs caused by inadequate access.

"Sadly, there is no market incentive for the builder to invest in access solutions that will save the owner or operator money in the longer term, and a cost transfer occurs.”

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