In a recent position statement on the F-gas phasedown, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration European Association (AREA) warns of significant safety concerns. 

The stricter phasedown proposal will accelerate the use of alternative refrigerants that can “only be handled by competent contractors.” This means that “hundreds of thousands” of technicians will need to be trained to handle toxic, high-pressure, and highly flammable refrigerants, such as hydrocarbons and CO2. AREA asserts that training technicians at this scale is unachievable in the near-term given technician shortages and other practical limitations.

Marco Buoni, an expert in HVACR training and certification across Europe, voiced a similar concern in an earlier interview with globalFACT. “Hands-on practice is especially critical because some new refrigerants require high-operating pressures or have different toxicity and flammability properties,” said Buoni. “If equipment is not properly installed or serviced by competent contractors, it could pose health and safety risks to the end user and the technician.” 

globalFACT shares the concerns expressed in AREA’s position statement and supports efforts and investments in preparing technicians to safely meet the evolving needs of the industry. 

Additional coverage in Cooling Post.