While some refrigerant leakage is unavoidable during the life of equipment, more refrigerant is lost into the atmosphere from faulty or poorly maintained air conditioning equipment, or if equipment is improperly disposed of. The national laws around handling and maintaining air conditioning equipment are aimed at reducing refrigerant leaks to protect the environment.
People who own or manage mobile air conditioning equipment on mine sites are required to ensure only technicians with an automotive refrigerant handling licence install and service these systems.
Refrigerant must be handled safely and carefully, and recovered so it can be recycled or destroyed. Refrigerant Reclaim Australia works with refrigerant wholesalers to collect and destroy refrigerants that are ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouses gases.
In addition to the national permit scheme under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation, it is a requirement under work health and safety obligations, and some state occupational licences, that employers must also ensure only competent workers work on air conditioners and other refrigeration systems. Workers must be provided with appropriate information and training on the hazards and safe use of the specific refrigerants to which they could be exposed when performing installation, commissioning, service, repair and decommissioning of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
As the holder of an RTA certain actions and reporting are required by law. These include:
• Refrigerant records – amounts purchased, recovered, sold and otherwise disposed of
• Equipment held – leak detector, vacuum pump and refrigerant recovery unit
• Refrigerant risk management plan – tailored to your workplace Equipment maintenance records
• Cylinder leak test and test date records
• List of staff who hold a current refrigerant handling licence
• All trainee refrigerant handling licence holders are supervised (if applicable)
• That you display your RTA number on relevant advertising and stationery
You can read more about your RTA obligations here