When dealing with any refrigerant, personal safety and the safety of others are vitally important. Service and maintenance people need to be familiar with safety procedures and what to do in the event of an emergency. Health and safety requirements are available from manufacturers of all refrigerants and should be obtained and studied.

HFC refrigerants are non-toxic in the traditional sense, but nevertheless great care must be taken to ensure adequate ventilation in areas where heavier than air gases may accumulate. Carbon dioxide is not a simple asphyxiant. Exposure to more than 30% carbon dioxide will result in rapid death.

Refrigerants are classified by toxicity and flammability hazard catego­ries according to EN378, and safety codes are available from the Institute of Refrigeration for Group A1 (low toxicity, non-flammable), Groups A2/A3 (non-toxic and flammable), ammonia and carbon dioxide.

In the UK and most of Europe, it is illegal to dispose of refrigerant in any other way than through an authorized waste disposal company. The UK legis­lation expects that anyone handling refrigerants is competent to do so and has the correct equipment and containers. Disposal must be through an approved contractor and must be fully documented. Severe penalties may be imposed for failure to implement these laws.

Posted in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning