Counting the Cost of F-Gas Non-Compliance as EA Issue £1m Fine
News that the UK Environment Agency has just fined a company £1.1 million for breaching F-Gas regulations clearly shows how vital it is that your engineers are fully trained and that you keep accurate records of the work that they have completed.
In this blog we outline some easy steps to ensure compliance and suggest that you take advantage of our free one-to-one set-up session to ensure that your records are correct; but first let’s reflect on what this action from the Environment Agency means for our industry.
What REFCOM Had to Say Regarding the Fine
Speaking about the fine, Graeme Fox, REFCOM’s head of technical, said: “… it is a huge statement of intent from the EA. However, we know that this is not an isolated incident and the battle goes on against rogue traders who seem bent on flouting this vital environmental law for financial gain.”
The action came as result of a tip off from a REFCOM member and shows that those transgressing the legislation now have nowhere to hide.
Mr. Fox continues: “We are delighted to see an example being made of this company and hope this will make others think again about putting the quality of services and products at risk, endangering lives and property, and undermining the UK’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Clearly this was a serious breach of the regulations which was probably deliberate in order for the company to cut costs and make money. In today’s world where we can only too clearly see the effects of climate warming, it is not acceptable and it is good to see that the Environment Agency is putting its house in order and taking enforcement of the regulations seriously.
How to Ensure That You are Compliant
Fortunately, most of us in our industry do take our roles seriously and strive for compliance. A simple check for your customers who commission service of refrigeration, HVAC or heat pump equipment is to check that their supplier is F-Gas certified and registered. This means that all of that supplier’s engineers who install, commission, repair and service equipment hold the relevant designated qualifications.
If your business has new personnel who need training, the industry body REFCOM offers F-Gas category 1 or 2 qualifications from a network of training centres across the country.
Assuming that your engineers are fully qualified, the legislation demands that they must track and record any movement of refrigerant gas where the system charge is equivalent to 5 tonnes or more of CO2 in an official logbook. You also need to have a back-office system that shows all the work completed on equipment.
To be clear each system with 5 tonnes or more of CO2 must have a logbook, while it’s good practice for every system to have a logbook. You can of course choose to complete paper-based systems, but collecting and recording all the data that you need, finding the right logbook and then ensuring and double checking that the information recorded is correct is onerous to say the least. And then you need to make sure that whoever is inputting the data into the back-office system can read the engineer’s handwriting and does not make any errors when copying it across.
Clearly this is not only time consuming, but the chances of errors are high and therefore so is the risk of being unintentionally non-compliant.
Speaking about the risk of making an error Mr Fox said: “It is vital that HVAC engineers are fully compliant with F-Gas legislation and there have been occasions where data has been missed or the logbook has been incorrectly filled in so that a job was not compliant. This is generally an honest mistake and people may not even realise that they have not met the legislative needs.”
In today’s electronic age this data collecting and recording exercise is best carried out using equipment that everyone will have in their pocket – a smartphone.
Acquiring Software for Fast and Accurate F-Gas Compliance
This is where our new REFCOM software module will help to ensure F-Gas compliance. Developed in collaboration with REFCOM, it enables engineers to input the relevant information into an App on their phone or tablet which will then automatically populate the online logbooks and the back-office systems to save time and avoid any errors.
And for real efficiency savings why not consider using QR codes to identify individual assets within an HVAC, refrigeration or heat pump system since the engineer can then simply scan the equipment to find out about its service history and the work that needs doing. This will also automatically find the form for that asset to make it easier and faster to complete and record the job. With each asset in a system having its own logbook, automating the track and trace system will save hours of time so that the engineer can complete more work.
Better yet if you are already a REFCOM member you will receive a free user licence for the new software module which includes a back-office reporting system, logbooks and the facility to add the mobile app for an engineer. This allows an organisation to plan and schedule future maintenance work and customise and produce reports in whatever format they want.
Free One-to-One Session to Get F-Gas Compliance Right
Let us help you to comply with F-Gas legislation. For a limited period only, we are offering a free one-t- one set-up session tailored to meet your business needs, it will cover:
- All data imports into the new REFCOM module prior to the session
- A demonstration of the module using your real data
- How to ensure compliance
- How to provide detailed and accurate audit information to your customers
Get in touch now to book your free place.
Register Your Interest in a FREE 1-2-1 F-Gas Compliance Set-Up Session
Get up and running with Joblogic’s updated and improved F-Gas Tracking and Compliance module, developed in partnership with REFCOM.
What do 1-2-1 set-up sessions include?
- A free demonstration using your real data
- How to ensure compliance
- Bespoke session with an expert trainer
- Providing accurate audit information to your customers