Mechanics warned over re-gassing hazards

Monday, 30 January, 2006

WorkCover NSW and Fair Trading's Motor Vehicle Repair Industry Authority are urging consumers and vehicle repairers to be aware of hazards when re-gassing Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning systems (MVACs) with flammable hydrocarbon gases.

Following the release of a joint safety alert, both agencies encourage anyone who works on motor vehicle engines to conduct a risk assessment and use appropriate risk controls when re-gassing MVACs.

Although the standard type of refrigerant in motor vehicle air conditioning units is non-flammable, some units may contain flammable gases.

Fire and explosion can result if flammable refrigerant leaks and ignites. The hazard is particularly high when a non-flammable refrigerant is replaced with a flammable refrigerant without a proper risk assessment.

Incorrect use of refrigerants in a motor vehicle may also void a vehicle's warranty and consumers and businesses should check with the vehicle manufacturer to confirm if flammable gases may be used in the air conditioning system.

WorkCover NSW and the Motor Vehicle Repair Industry Authority are urging businesses to take the following precautions:

  • Get written advice from the vehicle air conditioning manufacturer or supplier before using flammable refrigerants to ensure that such gases can be safely used in the unit
  • Conduct a workplace risk assessment and ensure safe procedures are strictly followed for the use and handling of flammable refrigerants.

More information on the safe handling of dangerous goods including flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants can be found in the Safety Alert on both WorkCover's website www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

and the Authority's at www.mvria.nsw.gov.au

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