Industry news

Safety survey for HVAC&R industry

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Late last year the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) conducted a survey that aimed to reach out to technical service providers on the topic of safety in the HVAC&R industry.

AIRAH chief executive Tony Gleeson says it was important to run a national survey in collaboration with a range of industry associations to provide additional evidence and insights for AIRAH to progress its strategic advocacy theme of compliance.

A wide range of industry professionals responded to the survey, including licensed refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, installation and commissioning contractors, service and maintenance contractors, TAFE trainers and students, manufacturers and suppliers, facilities managers, and compliance and WHS auditors.

The results of the survey have been published in a report by AIRAH, Safety in the HVAC&R Industry, which outlines the main safety issues and lists recommendations to help address increasing concerns regarding safety risks.

This report shows there is a high level of concern about safety in the HVAC&R industry and according to respondents the four main areas of concern are quality and training, access to plant, working fluids hazards, and electrical hazards.

“We found the increased safety risks and higher ongoing costs associated with poor access to HVAC&R plant and equipment are ‘designed in’ to systems from day one,” says AIRAH executive manager of government relations and technical services Phil Wilkinson.

“There is a market failure at play in many scenarios. Those who would have to pay for the additional capital costs to provide safe access during the construction are different from those who will pay for the increased ongoing costs caused by the inadequate access. Sadly, there is no market incentive for the builder to invest in access solutions that will save the owner or operator money in the longer term, and a cost transfer occurs,” says Phil.

The Safety in the HVAC&R Industry report is available at www.airah.org.au/safety

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