RLNZ-logoNEW ZEALAND: From January 1 it may be very difficult for anyone not in possession of the correct accreditation to buy refrigerant in New Zealand.

All major suppliers in New Zealand are said to be supporting an initiative to demand an Environmental Protection Agency Approved Filler and/or Approved Handler License or Certificate from any prospective purchaser of refrigerant from January 1.

Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, anybody handling or recovering compressed gases must have had suitable training and hold an Approved Filler and/or Approved Handler Test Certificate as appropriate. Most refrigerants currently used in New Zealand are classified as compressed gases under the Hazardous Substances (Compressed Gases) Regulations 2004 (Compressed Gas Regulations). Under these regulations, a person recovering compressed gas (refrigerant) into a cylinder must hold an Approved Filler Test Certificate.

The decision to restrict sales from 1 January 2015 is a voluntary agreement made by refrigerant suppliers to help ensure safe practice in refrigerant use.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to industry licensing the requirement demonstrates industry’s continued willingness to act responsibly to reduce the environmental impact’, said Refrigerant License Trust Board chair, Glynn Cowley.

The initiative was developed following the Tamahere cold store explosion and fire in 2008 in which one firefighter was killed and seven others injured following a leak of hydrocarbon refrigerant.

Following the disaster, the Refrigerant License Trust Board (RLTB / RLNZ) was established by the Climate Control Companies Association (CCCA) and The Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (IRHACE), with funding provided by refrigerant levy collection, initially to develop and provide approved refrigerant filler and handler training and certification for HVAC&R practitioners.