What is an F-Gas Company Certificate? - Viva Training Academy

Like most industries, the gas and refrigerant sector has gone through several regulatory changes, all of which require that you operate only with the relevant certifications. Complying with the F-Gas company regulations is a bare minimum requirement, and there’s no room for not knowing the rules and regulations.

What Is F-gas?

F-Gas(Fluorinated gas) is a manufactured gas designed for use in several industrial applications as a substitute for gases that have ozone-depleting effects.

Though F-gases do not affect the ozone layer, they greatly input the greenhouse effect. F-Gases are rated to have a global warming impact upwards of twenty-three thousand times greater than carbon dioxide(CO2).

This substantial impact on the greenhouse effect by F-Gases is one of the primary inspirations behind the strict regulations around the industry. The F-Gas Regulation exists in the UK and the more extensive European Union jurisdiction. This legislative action has set up more stringent rules around the production, service, and use of F-Gases.

What Is an F-Gas Company Certificate?

An F-Gas Company Certificate is a form of regulatory documentation to show that a company in the business of F-Gas-related operations has qualified and is authorized to participate in the industry. The F-Gas Company Certificate is a must-have legal document for all companies that deal with the installation and maintenance of machinery that contain F-Gas refrigerant equipment.

The Environmental Agency (EA) is the authority mandated with ensuring all the set F-Gas regulations are being adhered to by all players in the industry. This means that all companies that deal with installing and maintaining stationary air-conditioning and refrigeration machinery or any other setups requiring F-Gas equipment must be EA certified.

However, a company doesn’t require an F-Gas Company Certificate to service machinery like high voltage switchgear, mobile air-conditioning systems in cars and vans, or refrigeration units in trailers and trucks.

What Are Some of the F-Gas Regulations in the UK and Larger EU Region?

Here are some of the regulatory requirements for companies dealing with F-Gas-related services and products.

Equipment labelling

Labels are mandatory in the company premises about F-gas’ type and quantity on any equipment or containers with F-Gas. This labelling practice aims to reduce or otherwise avoid errors in working with such machinery and make it easier for regulators to conduct checks on company infrastructure.

Leak checking and testing

Companies should ensure that all their equipment and machinery operating with any form of F-Gas should be regularly checked and tested for leaks under several conditions. Companies using the following equipment are under legal obligation law to check periodically for F-Gas leaks:

  • stationary heat pump systems
  • organic Rankine cycles
  • Stationary air-conditioning systems
  • Electrical switchgear
  • Stationary refrigeration equipment
  • Refrigeration units in trucks and trailers
  • Stationary fire protection equipment

Suppose a company operates by renting out their F-Gas-related equipment, depending on the rental agreement. In that case, the company is responsible for checking for F-Gas leaks and not the end-user.

In the event of an F-Gas leak on equipment, the responsibility of containment or the leak falls under the authority of:

  • The end-user or the equipment on which the F-Gas leak occurred
  • The company technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and disposal of the equipment.

The frequency with which inspections to check for leaks in F-Gas equipment is relative and depends on the following factors.

  • The volume of F-Gas contained in the equipment determines the frequency of checks, with larger volumes requiring more frequent inspections. This direct proportionality between the F-Gas volume and the frequency of leakage checks is because larger volumes mean higher gas pressure, making the equipment more prone to leaks.
  • The amount of global warming the F-Gas is likely to contribute. Different types of F-Gases have different global warming potentials and therefore prone to various regulations.

F-Gas usage record-keeping

A company dealing with any F-Gas equipment is responsible for ensuring that all its personnel are well trained, understand the regulations, and are certified to work with F-Gas equipment. The company should well keep records on the following metrics for all its F-Gas related stationary equipment that operate 3kg of F-Gases or more:

  • The identification details should be well documented of all the personnel responsible for transportation or servicing of F-Gas equipment.
  • Details should be well documented on the dates and findings of the scheduled leakage checks. Results of leakage contaminants should be well-reported and showing details such as the type and quantity of the leaked F-Gas.
  • The type and quantity of the F-Gases stored, added, or removed on the company’s facility or equipment, as well as the personnel responsible.

F-Gas Training and Certification Courses

As a minimum requirement, a company should show that it has employed the relevant qualified staff to work on F-Gas-related equipment and machinery. The company should also have a well-documented procedure for handling F-Gas-related safety concerns like leakages if they occur.

The second step in getting an F-Gas Company certificate for your company is identifying an authorized F-Gas training service provider like Viva Training Academy. With a training service provider, you’re able to choose out of the available training course, one that most suits your company’s environment.

Having your personnel trained from a reputable institution like Viva Training Academy equips them with the required skills. It sets them up to have certificates that are valid in the industry. Upon completing the selected training course, the company personnel will be issued with a valid certificate for five years, and acceptable all over the UK.

As part of the training course from Viva Training Academy, your F-Gas engineers will acquire skills on:

  • Setup and maintenance of pressurized pipework, leakage testing, and evacuation procedure in the event of a leak.
  • Practices on how to operate safely in environments with F-Gas equipment and possible hazards and how to avoid or counter them.
  • Disposal steps on how to get rid of F-Gas-related materials.
  • Identification and setup of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment
  • The causes and effects of global warming, ozone layer depletion, and climate change
  • The installation and maintenance of F-Gas equipment on both stationary and dynamic settings.

Importance of Getting an F-Gas Company Certificate

One of the most apparent benefits of having an F-Gas Company Certificate is having your company operate on the legal side of the F-Gas regulations spectrum. When a company operates without proper documentation, it faces the risk of temporarily or permanently shutting down under UK law.

As part of the certificate acquisition process, your company personnel will undergo training practices to operate F-Gas-related equipment and machinery safely. This added training to your already qualified and certified staff helps improve their skills and builds on your company’s reputation in product and service delivery.

With the safety practices taught as part of the F-Gas Company Certificate training, your company personnel also get training on safely operating equipment and managing potential hazards if or when they occur. This added care helps in preventing loss both in terms of human life and equipment.

Different Types of F-gases

Fluorinated Gases exist in many forms, and the four main types are nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Sulphur hexafluoride(SF6), and perfluorocarbons(PFCs).

These different gasses result from F-Gas production processes, some of which are direct and intended results of the operations. In contrast, others occur as intermediate and by-products of the methods.

Of the intended F-Gas production products, HFCs are the most common. HFCs are prevalent in industrial processes like fire and solvent suppressants, aerosol propellants, refrigerants, and foam-blowing agents. Though HFCs are an excellent substitute for ozone-depleting F-Gases like CFCs, they are still familiar with having a significant impact on the greenhouse effect.

Health and Safety Concerns Around F-gases

While regulated industrial practices help significantly reduce the production of F-Gases with massive ozone-depleting effects, all F-Gases are still contributors to global warming.

Regardless of their degrading environmental effects, F-Gases are a necessary evil due to their industrial roles. When used responsibly, F-Gases can be safe both for human life and the environment.

The primary safety threat from F-Gases to human life and the environment occurs due to leaks. Containment regulations for leaks and production practices are necessary for making F-Gases safe. Rules around the disposal of F-Gases and contaminated materials help ensure that the gases don’t contact humans, plants, or animals.

F-Gases can be recycled in different industrial practices, making management of equipment and production by-products relatively easy.

When F-Gases have been used beyond any possible recycling state, they can be expertly gotten rid of through incineration or chemical action. The main aim of this care and meticulous approach in the disposal process is to ensure that the resultant chemicals from the disposal process have little or no global warming effects.

As a legal requirement, an F-Gas company should ensure that all its practices are within the set standards and that all its relevant personnel is certified and well trained. Failure to operate by these rules makes a company prone to temporary or permanent closure.


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