Fatal incidents require a concerted response

Graeme Fox: “We should share our knowledge with our colleagues around the world”

UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) called for a greater focus on training and safety following recent refrigeration and air conditioning related fatalities in Nigeria.

BESA technical director Graeme Fox said a recent report on the Cooling station a wave of refrigeration and air conditioning-related fatalities and injuries in Nigeria was probably “the tip of the iceberg” and called for a concerted response from the global industry.

After seven people were killed and several others injured in at least five explosions in the city of Abeokuta, local authorities temporarily banned the sale of refrigerants and halted service and maintenance operations. Early reports suggest that explosions can have a number of causes, including spurious or defective cylinders, contaminated gas, and human error.

Refrigerant driving license

Fox, who is a past president of the European Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Association (AREA), was instrumental in establishing an international refrigerant driver’s license program for the safe handling of refrigerants on behalf of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

When the project was launched six years ago, UNEP was increasingly concerned about the lack of understanding and training to improve security in many emerging markets. The idea was that developed countries would share their expertise with emerging industries to improve safety and professionalism.

“These latest reports from Nigeria highlight why this program is so important. It was delayed because travel restrictions linked to the pandemic prevented experts from training the trainers in each pilot country, ”said Fox, who is also the technical manager of the UK’s main F-gas registry REFCOM.

“We must now restart it without delay. Accidents happen daily, and it’s a miracle we haven’t had more fatalities, especially with the growth in the use of new alternative gases, many of which are flammable.

Fox also warned of complacency in the UK and Europe, noting that there had recently been a near miss in the UK when an engineer vented flammable R290 into a kitchen served by a water system. extraction of fat that could easily ignite and cause serious damage.

“The increasing amount of flammable gas used by our industry means that we need to improve our level of skills training. Building our own base of contractors is clearly a priority, but we should simultaneously share our knowledge with our colleagues around the world.

Related stories:

Refrigeration work prohibited after explosionsMay 24, 2021
NIGERIA: The Nigerian state of Ogun has banned the sale of refrigerants as well as the maintenance and repair of air conditioning and refrigeration units following several deadly explosions. Read more…

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