1. Safety at Work

Occupational and ‘safety at work’ type legislation require that workers are not exposed to harmful gases, including refrigerants, above the recommended limits. These are normally policed by responsible bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive/Authority. Exposure levels are published and workers should not be exposed to higher levels.

For further guidelines on Safety at work, please check our website www.murcogasdetection.com – in the FAQ section we have added “Useful Links” to a number of leading Occupational Safety at Work institutions worldwide.

2.   International Standards and Regulations requiring the use of fixed refrigerant leak detectors

Most countries in the world require the use of fixed refrigerant detectors in all refrigeration and air conditioning machinery rooms.

There are specific rules or standards prohibiting leaks of refrigerant. These came about because of the damage caused to the ozone layer by CFCs. The Montreal Convention covered the phasing out of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and the scheduled phasing out of HCFC’ s(hydro-chlorofluorocarbons)

A second source of concern is the double impact to the environment from leaking systems resulting in global warming.  It has been stated that historically 70% of refrigerants manufactured has been used for top ups.  These direct emissions contribute to global warming.  Indirectly this has a greater effect due to carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the production of higher amounts of power required by a leaking system.

In addition most countries issue strong warnings on the dangers of refrigerant leaks into occupied spaces with direct air-conditioning systems such as VRV / VRF and they limit the charge of refrigerant allowed.

The basic worldwide Standard is the ISO 5149 – Mechanical refrigerating systems used for cooling and heating – Safety requirements that should be operative in all member countries of the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Some countries have modified the ISO 5149 and established their own Standards. These include:

Europe and CEN countries
It is now a requirement in all European and CEN countries to take all reasonable steps to prevent leakage of refrigerants by installing fixed gas detectors in new and existing installations.
– European Community Regulation No 2037/2000 On Ozone Depleting Substances
– European Standard EN378 – Refrigerating Systems & Heat Pumps-Safety & Environmental Requirements.
– F-Gas Regulation EC No.842/2006 – EC Global Warming ResponseUSA: ASHRAE 15 and Unified Mechanical Code 1994
Australia / New Zealand: AS/NZ 1677.2
S. Africa: SANS 10147
Africa, Asia, and Others: ISO 5149 would apply

As well as the common requirement to fit leak detectors in all machinery rooms and to take special precautions with comfort air conditioning, each standard has particular requirements and should be reviewed in each case.

For further detailed information, we have prepared brief summaries reflecting our views on EN378, F- gas regulation, ASHRAE 15-1994, Unified Mechanical Code, and AS/NZ 1677.2.  Please contact us should you require a copy.

3. Ships including Fishing Vessels
On ships and fishing vessels with refrigeration, there are extensive regulations requiring that refrigerant leak detection systems be fitted. This is particularly important in the case of standard refrigerants, which are odourless, heavier than air, and so tend to accumulate in wells or below decks displacing air and leading to possible asphyxiation.
Importantly, failure to comply with the Law or a Code or Standard could have insurance or compensation implications in the event of an accident or claim.

Legal standards and directives