The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has released an online, updated version of its Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide. The resource – which was developed by independent organisations and stakeholders with support from the Department of the Environment and Energy – provides vital information about the use and management of flammable refrigerants in stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, points out that the HFC phase-down has prompted a switch to flammable low-global-warming-potential (low-GWP) synthetic and natural refrigerants. As a result, industry professionals must be fully aware of equipment that uses them, and the risks associated.
“Many HVAC&R professionals are accustomed to working with the non-flammable refrigerants that were widely used in the past,” Gleeson says.
“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. And that’s where the Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide has a crucial role to play.”
The guide was originally published in 2013 in hard copy form and over the past five years more than 700 people have received training at free seminars around Australia. However, there was a clear need to look at more innovative ways of delivering the information.
“The face-to-face delivery model, had its limits, so rather than them coming to us, we’re taking it to them,” says AIRAH’s Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH. “The new online format allows people to access the resource whenever they have time. We’ve broken the material down into ‘smoko-sized’ chunks of around 20 minutes, and users can leave it and pick it back up to make it as flexible as possible.”
The online Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide also incorporates audio and “test your knowledge” tasks.
It has been updated to refer to standards AS/NZS ISO 817 and AS/NZS 5149 series, which have superseded AS/NZS 1677. It also incorporates revisions to regulations that impact the application of flammable refrigerants.
AIRAH notes that the online resource is designed to raise awareness and refresh and complement existing knowledge. It does not substitute for the detailed nationally endorsed technical training required to safely and productively work with flammable refrigerants.