Training for A2/A2L mildly flammable refrigerants has been officially endorsed by the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA). This unit of competency can now be utilised across the nation.
Kevin O’Shea, Chairperson of the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) says it’s a big win for technician safety.
“Up until now, there were no training competencies endorsed for mildly flammable refrigerants like R32, creating a growing risk for apprentices and technicians who are more and more likely to work with these refrigerants.
“We couldn’t let this gap in training fall through the cracks. Our industry hangs its hat on its skills and professionalism, and this new unit of competency will provide increased safety for technicians in a growing refrigerant market.”
Stephen Smith, who has more than 25 years’ teaching experience in HVAC&R at TAFEs in NSW, agrees that the training meets a clear and immediate need in the industry.
“R32 has become the refrigerant of choice for almost all high wall split-system manufacturers these days,” he says. “It is the first refrigerant to see use in Australia that falls within the new A2L Toxicity and Flammability category; however, it won’t remain that way for long. Many of the new HFO refrigerants that are being developed to replace the HFCs we are all familiar with will also fall into this category.
“The RAC industry is facing a worldwide move to HFO and natural refrigerants. The addition of this course provides all training organisations with the full suite of products required to assist the industry in making the transition as safe as possible.
“Nationally recognised training products currently exist for the A1 (non-flammable) and A3 (highly flammable) category refrigerants and the introduction of R32 brought with it a need to create a training product that addressed the gap.
“The ARC has proactively assisted in identifying and pursuing a pathway that ensures the course is available to everyone.”
The new unit of competency is VU22583 Handle Class A2/A2L Flammable Refrigerants. This sits within the current course as an elective – 22329 VIC Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Service.