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A new mining sector education campaign by the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) will promote the benefits of regular preventative maintenance and gas leak detention of mobile air conditioning systems in mine vehicles.

Mines around Australia will receive the ARC’s ‘Save time, money and the environment’ packs, which cover a range of topics including safety advice for using alternative refrigerants, common causes of poor performance and refrigerant leakage of air conditioning systems, preventative maintenance and leak detection processes.

Oversized mine site vehicles weigh hundreds of tonnes and operate in severe conditions where high temperatures, humidity and high dust levels result in mobile units working at high pressures and thermal loads, increasing potential for parts failure and loss of large quantities of refrigerant gases.

Air conditioning systems in these challenging situations require regular servicing, maintenance and repairs to avoid breakdowns and to minimise gas leakage.

Earlier this year a mining truck air conditioner exploded causing serious burns to a worker in Queensland.

The mine worker was injured when the cabin exploded while driving the truck. The burns spread to the worker’s face, hands and chest. His eyes were protected by safety glasses.

The explosion originated in the truck’s air-conditioning (AC) unit,and follows a similar incident at another coal mine in 2014.

Refrigerant leaks can occur during normal operations, equipment servicing and maintenance or at end-of-life. Greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerant leaks cause environmental damage.

In addition to education and industry support, ARC administers the refrigeration and air conditioning industry permit scheme on behalf of the federal government.

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