The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has become concerned following incidents involving flammable refrigerants. These have resulted in injury and damage to property within Western Australia and a fatality in New Zealand.
With increased costs and environmental damage associated with the use of synthetic chemical refrigerants there has been an increased use of flammable refrigerants that are marketed as natural refrigerants or ‘green’ alternatives. These refrigerants mainly contain hydrocarbons (e.g. propane or butane – components of LP gas or other mixtures), or hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs).
The use of flammable refrigerants has implications in how the refrigerant is stored, handled and used.
The department has released a Bulletin which outlines the hazards as well as the actions which are required to safely change refrigerants from a non-flammable to a flammable type in industrial, commercial, domestic and automotive refrigeration systems.
Source: WorkSafe Newsletter, 23 August 2018