Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 817:2016 classifies R32 as A2L lower flammability. Technicians need to take the relevant safety measures for the correct transport, storage and handling of a flammable gas. This includes ensuring that the gas is not exposed to open flames or other ignition sources. Toxic substances like hydrogen fluoride and carbon dioxide are created when R32, like all fluorinated refrigerants, is burnt. Asphyxiation and freeze burns are also a risk.
For transportation purposes, R32 is classified as a dangerous goods class 2.1 flammable gas under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code and therefore requires additional handling and storage safeguards compared to class 2.2 non-flammable gases.
Safety issues to be aware of:
Manufacturers and suppliers are required to include additional safety information in the installation and service manuals for air conditioners using a flammable refrigerant. Technicians should follow these instructions.
The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide developed by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating outlines the occupational health and safety risks associated with refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems that use flammable refrigerants. Chapters 11 and 12 cover cylinder handling, storage and transport.
Check with the relevant state-based WorkSafe agencies and refer to the relevant material safety data sheets available from refrigerant wholesalers for specific safeguards when handling R32.