• The review is due to be completed later this month.
    The review is due to be completed later this month.

Cool-Safe, the body which runs New Zealand’s accredited voluntary Product Stewardship Scheme for refrigerants, is investing $500,000 per annum to build capacity and capability within the country’s HVACR sector.

Cool Safe’s first priority has been to launch an independent review into training needs and resources claiming it is urgently required.

“The review, and subsequent investment into industry training resources, follows feedback from the refrigerants industry that there are significant gaps and inconsistencies in current training being delivered,” Cool Safe said in a statement.

“These gaps have been highlighted as putting at risk both the safety of refrigerant technicians and end-user of the refrigerant containing products, as well as the effective environmental management of refrigerants.

“Addressing these gaps and ensuring refrigerant technicians are appropriately trained is key to ensure refrigerant containing equipment is installed and maintained correctly, preventing the unnecessary and harmful release of synthetic refrigerant greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”

Toby Beaglehole, a former chief executive in both vocational education and oil and gas, is leading the independent review.

The Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants, which was formed in 1993 to manage refrigerant gas collection and destruction in New Zealand, governs the Cool-Safe scheme.

Trust chair Richard Lauder supports improvements to training across the entire industry.

“Over the last year as our trustees and Cool-Safe team have met with more and more of the frontline teams doing the really important job of ensuring we all have access to the benefits of refrigeration and heating in our businesses and homes, it’s clear there is frustration that this industry, that is so vital to our economy and wellbeing, isn’t appropriately supported with easy and plentiful access to rigorous and robust training resources,” he said.

“As an environmental trust, we’re particularly concerned by this – as we know a well-trained refrigerant workforce is key to preventing synthetic refrigerant gas leaks into our atmosphere, which can cause thousands of times more damage than the equivalent volume of CO2.

“That’s why we’ve made it a priority to invest in better access and improved training for the refrigerants industry.”

The review, including the delivery of a summary report and set of recommendations, is due to be completed later this month.