The Whitegoods Trade Association is pleased to announce that is has been approved by the Secretary Of State and DEFRA to offer F Gas interim personnel certificates for those with suitable experience. The certificates are available with immediate effect and any applications should be processed within 14 days of reciept and non-members are also welcome to apply.
The F-gas Regulation (EC Regulation 842/2006 & GB Statutory Instrument 41) require companies repairing fridges and air-conditioning units to be registered by the 4th July 2009. Additionally all service personnel handling HFC refrigerants must be qualified.
This includes companies and personnel repairing domestic and light commercial retail refrigeration appliances using R134A and R404A refrigerant gases.
NB. This legislation does not apply to Hydrocarbon refrigerants currently used in domestic refrigeration appliances i.e. Isobutane or Isopropane (R600A & R290A)
All companies need to hold an interim company certificate by 4th July 2009 and a full certificate by July 2011.
For personnel the current qualification requirements, for those working on refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing less than 3 kg, are to hold a recognised qualification, either City and Guilds 2078 or CITB 206710.
For those without one of these two qualifications there are two further options:-
1. to hold an in-house qualification (see below), or
2. before the 15 February 2008, to have carried out such work on equipment containing less than 3kg of HFC refrigerant without supervision.
Thes personnel qualifications are only valid until July 2011. In this interim period personnel need to obtain an "interim certificate". Interim certificates will be valid up to 3 July 2011. The following routes to gaining an interim certificate exist:
Personnel relying on previous experience, will need to apply for and obtain an interim certificate before 4 July 2009. Details of how to apply are on the accompanying document. Personnel holding an in-house qualification and those holding the City & Guilds 2078 or CITB 206710 are deemed holders of an interim certificate and may apply for registration directly with REFCOM.
These current qualifications will not meet the long term minimum requirements specified in Commission Regulation 303/2008. New GB qualifications that meet the minimum requirements are being introduced. These are City & Guilds 2079 and CITB J11.
Repairers of Domestic and light commercial refrigeration with systems under 3 Kg will be required to achieve category 2 of the above qualifications.
There are exemptions for three categories of personnel:
1. Trainees are exempt for up to 2 years, but they must work under the supervision of a person with the requisite qualification (including an interim certificate) and must be enrolled on a relevant training course.
2. Personnel only undertaking brazing, soldering or welding on a piece of RAC equipment would be exempt if they hold a nationally recognised qualification to undertake such activities and if they are supervised by a person holding the requisite F gas certificate covering the relevant activity.
3. Personnel undertaking recovery of F gases from "waste equipment" under the WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) EC 96/2002 with an F gas charge less than 3 kg, in premises covered by a suitable permit, are exempt provided that they are employed by the company holding the permit and have completed a training course on the minimum skills and knowledge corresponding to Category III that is verified by an attestation of competence issued by the permit holder.
Local Authority regulators will be empowered to police the industry. Any company or individual found not to be complying with this legislation may be removed from the registration scheme, be served with a compliance notice or face criminal prosecution in a county court for serious breach and conviction resulting in an unlimited fine based on the seriousness of the offence. Any individual or company removed from the company certification scheme may not be able to purchase refrigerant.
Manufacturers - Personnel and company certification requirements do not apply to any RAC manufacturing and repairing activity undertaken at a manufacturer's sites.
An In-house qualification is defined in national regulations and means a qualification verified by a certificate of competence or other written confirmation issued by an employer to such of its employees who have successfully completed a course of training provided by that employer relating to the work in question. A course of training provided by an employer must enable an employee who has been trained to carry out relevant work satisfactorily. An employer must keep a record of training, must provide a copy to an employee which shows the name of employee trained, course provided, dates provided and date of completion or other confirmation that course was completed.
The EC F gas Regulation requires that Member States give mutual recognition to certification of suitable qualifications from other EU countries. This will only apply to a "full qualification" that meets the minimum requirements specified in Commission Regulation EC 303/2008. In some EU countries the existing qualifications already meet or go beyond these minimum requirements. The European Commission will be compiling a list of qualifications that meet the new minimum requirements (not available at the time of writing this document). Interim personnel certificates issued by other EU Member States will not be valid in the UK.
The government department DEFRA have set up a team to assist the industry with promotion and compliance with this legislation. This body is called F-Gas Support.
In summary, if a company is registering itself and its engineers have what is recognised as an interim certificate, they may apply direct to REFCOM.
If the company's engineers are competent but do not hold a recognised interim certificate, they will firstly need to apply to the WTA for an interim certificate with evidence of competence.
Once the WTA have issued them with an interim certificate for their engineers, they must then apply to REFCOM and register the company, which is a legal requirement.
Evidence of competence other than a recognised certificate may include the following:
* Written confirmation from contract clients or agencies held confirming that the company and its employers have been carrying out refrigeration repairs on its behalf
* Worksheets from repairs carried out to refrigeration equipment
* Refrigerant reclaim records
* Refrigerant purchase receipts (sole traders)
* Any other documentation reliably proving that an individual is competent and has been working on refrigeration systems unsupervised.
The cost of certification is £35 per operative and to apply you will require the following:
* Download the appropriate form (See Below) and fill in the required details required clearly
* Include two passport sized photographs for each operative
* Enclose a cheque for the total made payable to "Whitegoods Trade Association"
* Post all this back to us to process
The form required can be downloaded from this link