The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has released a guide to workplace health and safety (WHS) and occupational health and safety (OH&S) in the HVAC&R industry.

IRAH CEO, Tony Gleeson, said, “WHS and OH&S regulations have an enormous impact on the HVAC&R industry, its members and its stakeholders. But understanding requirements and compliances is easier said than done.

“AIRAH’S Guide to Model WHS Law in Australia for the HVAC&R Industry is available to shed light on the ins and outs of regulations. It’s designed to help provide an understanding of specific WHS issues and challenges that our industry members encounter in their work, in addition to the general duties assumed by employers and supervisors.”

The guide covers a broad range of safety-related issues such as:

  • Safety-in-design requirements and the WHS duties of equipment/system designers and suppliers
  • General safety in the construction and plant maintenance industries, such as safe work method statements
  • Working with toxic or flammable substances, for instance, the safe use, handling and storage of the refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems
  • Working in confined spaces, for example, installing/servicing plant in concealed basements, ceilings, roof spaces and inside cooling towers, large boilers, large tanks
  • Working at height, for instance, installing/servicing roof-mounted plant
  • Working from elevated platforms, for example, installing/servicing roof-integrated high-level fans
  • Working with dangerous plant such as large boilers, chillers or gas-fired electricity generators
  • Working with plant known to generate risks of Legionnaire’s disease (for example, cooling towers)

“Awareness of WHS responsibilities in our industry is not well understood,” AIRAH executive manager – government relations and technical services, Phil Wilkinson said.

“Our culture needs to change. The guide makes very clear what the responsibilities for people in the industry are. The guide will give individuals the confidence to better inform their clients about the legislative requirement for safety. In the long run, the hope is to raise awareness of legal responsibilities so those on site can install, maintain and operate equipment safely.”

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