03 March 2020 | Martin Read
The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) has warned facilities managers that risk assessments relating to air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pumps installed on their premises may not be sufficient.
The warning concerns equipment gases used in stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment that will have been installed to comply with the EU's F-gas regulation and the HFC phase-down process. FETA's worry is that organisations, defined as 'employers' within the regulation, "may not be fully aware of their legal responsibilities under DSEAR, as regards risk assessments".
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) were designed to protect people from risks to their safety in the workplace, and to members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.
Over recent years, the use of A2L and other flammable refrigerants has increased as users have moved from gases with high global warming potential (GWP) gases to more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Importantly, the regulation was amended in 2015 to include gases under pressure (hazard class H280). And according to FETA, this now means that all classes of refrigerant are within the scope of DSEAR - meaning, "all refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) installations need to be compliant".
Martyn Cooper, commercial manager at FETA, said: "There may be facilities managers unaware that, following revisions to the regulation, a DSEAR Risk Assessment is a legal requirement that applies where any air conditioning, refrigeration or heat pump is installed and is required in any situation where there is gas under pressure, not only when the refrigerant is A2L or flammable. The facilities management company therefore has a responsibility to ensure the DSEAR Risk Assessment exists where appropriate."
A FETA guidance document on risk assessments for compliance with DSEAR can be downloaded here.