Changes have been made to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act that will affect the refrigeration and air conditioning industry.
The act – Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Amendment (Methyl Bromide, Fire Protection and Other Measures) Regulations 2018 – commenced on December 12. The new regulations update references to Australian Standards relevant to the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, update references to the vocational education and training system when specifying the qualifications required for a refrigerant handling licence and expand the use of infringement notices for breaches of the regulations, along with other changes.
The measures in this package:
- Update references to the Australian Standards that refrigerant handling licence holders are required to comply with to include Australian refrigerant designation and safety standards 5149 and 817, adopted in Australia in 2016 to replace the 1677 series.
- Introduce infringement notices to the HVAC&R industry and fire protection industry end use schemes. These mid-range compliance tools are considered to be more effective and efficient alternatives to prosecution in appropriate circumstances, particularly for minor breaches. Infringement notices were already available for offences against the Act – i.e., relating to emissions and under the import/export program.
- Update the authority responsible for listing the approved qualifications required to be eligible for a refrigerant or fire extinguishing agent handling licence by referencing the vocational education and training system.
- Remove inconsistencies in criminal and civil provisions relating to a number of gas discharge circumstances, including during testing of gases, laboratory analysis and calibrating fire protection leak detection equipment.
- Clarify the circumstances where gas discharge is permitted during sampling and testing.