Grosvenor Group director and national engineering manager, Peter Souflias, warns there are important questions that need to be answered before transitioning to R32.
It is becoming more and more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain A1 class (Non Toxic and Non Flammable) refrigerant systems for split, ducted or refrigeration systems. Manufacturers either already have, or are currently in the process of, discontinuing production of “Standard” R410a machines and transitioning their products to use R32 refrigerants.
What does this mean to the marketplace and the industry that supports it? Below are some questions that need to be asked as we move forward with the changes being made.
As we know manufacturers are making the transition to comply with the global HFC phasedown.
Is there any risk to your business using these new systems with R32 refrigerant?
There are several questions which should be asked in relation to this.
R32 is classified as a Class 2.1 flammable gas by the Safety Data Sheet (Linde Gas) and Class 2.1 gas is listed as a Schedule 11 Hazardous Chemicals in the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.
Does your SWMS statement / High Risk Construction Work cover off how to safely work with R32 refrigerant?
Any person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must manage risks to health and safety associated with an ignition source in a hazardous atmosphere at the workplace, in accordance with Part 3.1.
Have your OH&S Responsibilities been covered from either an employer or employee perspective? Are you even aware what these are?
What makes a person competent to carry out an installation of this new R32 equipment?
Is a “Manufacturer Training session sufficient” or do you need to complete the Nationally Recognised Course VU22583, Handle Class A2/A2L Flammable Refrigerants and Natural Refrigerant courses?
Where is your evidence of adequate training if an accident or incident occurs? Is a Manufacturer Training session sufficient to cover your liability?
If flare fittings are used on the R32 equipment, air conditioning unit must comply with the requirements of AS 60079.10.1, Clause ZA.18.104.22.168, considering the hazardous zone around a flared fitting when the pressure at the joints exceed 2000 kPa. Do you understand this?
Have you applied Occupational Health and Safety legislation (NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017), specifically in regards to Division 8 Hazardous atmospheres and Managing risks to health and safety in regards to the concentration of flammable gas, exceeds 5% of the LEL for the gas?
Did you identify if there was any ignition source in the hazardous zone?
Have you identified the hazardous zone and advised the electrician that the electrical fittings within the hazardous zone need to comply with AS3000, Section 7.7.1?
Have you advised the owner of the building or strata to advise their insurer if Hazardous refrigerants are installed? Did you document it?
How many of the above questions were you able to answer successfully?
Having had first-hand experience in these issues, Grosvenor Engineering Group now understands the challenges that government, consultants, builders, developers and HVAC contractors are all going through at the moment. We do not escape liability if we are unaware of the law.
Grosvenor has put together a free information pack and webinar to help answer the above questions.
Register now and get your free R32 information pack. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org