The regulators for the F-Gas and ODS laws have been working directly with the rac supply chain to ensure that firms understand and comply with the rules.
F-Gas Support has been working closely with the Regulators of the EC’s F-Gas and Ozone Regulations (which include the Environment Agency and Local Authorities) over the last two years to ensure that there is good compliance amongst end-users and contractors. To demonstrate the type of activities, we are providing a series of brief summaries of regulatory interventions.
Whilst it is not possible to share company-specific information, the following examples of recent regulator activity provide useful examples of the good and bad practice that was found,
The approach taken by the Regulators is based on issuing a request for information. The feedback from this request is then used to judge compliance and to stimulate further regulator activity as necessary.
For example, if the response is judged inadequate, the Regulator then clarifies the key problems and sets a timetable for corrective action. In all cases so far, this approach has led to a good resolution over any areas of non-compliance and it demonstrates companies are complying with the regulatory requirements.
The EC’s F gas Regulation places obligations on the “operator” of stationary RAC equipment to ensure that all personnel working on that equipment are appropriately qualified and that the company they are employed by is certificated. If the F gas qualified personnel work for the end user of RAC equipment then that company must hold an F gas Company Certificate. If they work for a subcontractor, the end user needs to ensure that they hold valid personnel certification and that their employers hold a Company Certificate.
In this regard, the Regulator has approached a number of end-users on its Top Emitters list and asked them to explain how they ensure that they only use appropriately certificated personnel and companies to install, service and maintain their stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.
Two examples of the response to this regulatory intervention from the food and drink sector show the process at work.
Company A is a large food manufacturing company with many divisions. The firm found it hard to respond to a regulatory request that covered the whole of their business, as they did not have a system in place for gathering together proof of compliance at a head office level. Each division had taken ownership of the requirement to comply and had its own approach, but without any coordination. Company A took some time to gather the necessary data to respond to the Regulator. When it did respond, it was able to identify that it was largely compliant, but it also identified that some divisions were using contractors who did not themselves hold a Company Certificate.
Company B is a drinks manufacturer. This firm was able to respond quickly and comprehensively to questions from the regulator about how they managed their contractors. The company was well aware of its obligations under the F gas and Ozone Regulations and demonstrated good management over the activities of subcontractors. The person with overall responsibility for the Regulations was able to provide information for all of their sites. All contractors were engaged through a central purchasing system that ensured they held the correct certifications before they could be engaged.
The next steps
As a result of the regulatory activities, Company A has now put in place procedures to ensure that the different divisions all manage this legislation in a coordinated way. They used the F-Gas Support Information Sheets and then asked for feedback on the procedures they had drafted to check they were addressing the requirements of the Regulations. All divisions now understand what certifications their contractors need to hold and they keep copies of contractors’ Company Certificates on site.
Company B was already in compliance. Their approach illustrated the benefit of coordinating the relevant procedures and paperwork at a corporate level, ensuring that only personnel whose qualification details had been checked by the company were permitted on site to work on their equipment.
If you have questions about whether your company is complying with all the elements of the F-Gas and ODS regulations, you can contact F-Gas Support by the methods below:
F-gas Help Line: 0161 874 3663; Email: email@example.com;
The F-gas Website has a range of downloadable information sheets on the regulations and compliance: www.defra.gov.uk/fgas