View Full Version : New Forum Suggestion, Legal issues

03-09-2003, 11:34 PM
I Have a suggestion for a new forum, Legal Issues.

Obviously most of us mere engineers at ground level don't know the ins and outs of legal matters/H&S ect so does anyone else think it would be a good forum for people to be able to ask questions for some of the more experienced personel

03-09-2003, 11:48 PM
Hi rdocwra :)

I think this might be adequately covered in the business section of the forumn.

In the hustle and bustle of the hot months, it's nice to know someone is still "heads up" on our interaction, here.



04-09-2003, 10:14 AM
I think Mr Docwra has a good point. Whether it merits its own forum or not is debatable. If it did it may encourage more postings.

Legislative issues is an exceptionally disparate and difficult subject, particularly as this forum has an international readership.

Each country has their own laws, and the EC is distinctly different from the US and other countries in its approach to H&S, working time, even regulation on refrigerants.

So, discussion and comparison of the various trends in different countries could be rewarding.

Time and time again I have seen companies in this country (UK)caught out by 'new' legislation that they have chosen to ignore until the last moment and we are considered as one of the least regulated in Europe.

Most of us are engineers, not lawyers, but we need to know what is going on.
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Prof Sporlan
04-09-2003, 10:05 PM
Indoor Air Quality legal issues could keep a forum active on its own... :D

04-09-2003, 11:41 PM
ndoor Air Quality legal issues could keep a forum active on its own

Certainly in the states, Prof, but is this a prevalent legal issue in the UK?

Legal issues in the US affect our business because we have developed a legal system driven by lawsuits in many forms. Our laws seem to be antecedent whereas British law still adheres to presedence I wonder if this is as true in the UK and elsewhere? It's really just an unfounded opinion I have.

I think it would be difficult to embrace US and UK legal discussions within the same forum, but I am certainly not against it. Especially if Rdocwra moderates it.

05-09-2003, 09:47 AM
Thank you Dan.

UK law is certainly different from the US in my perspective, but the process in the UK tends to follow the European path. It?s a complex issue, but basic requirements affecting product safety, energy efficiency, product performance etc is set in Brussels for the member states. The mechanics of it are even more complex. The one aspect of this that affects our business (and yours too, if US companies export to Europe) are the New Approach directives.

Indoor Air Quality certainly is an issue here, as it also is in Europe. The EC has already legislated on Volatile Organic Compounds in synthetic products, and this certainly affects building air quality. There is European draft legislation in the pipeline on Building Energy Efficiency also and that will almost certainly impact on indoor air quality.

If we are talking about smoking for example, the authorities in London are following the New York route. (Whether they will be successful is another matter).

But to return to the original point of the post from RDocwra, I believe he suggested some form of comparison of trends and issues in various parts of the world and an exchange of knowledge and experience. I think that this is all we can aim for, as none of us (probably) are lawyers, and the application of laws, codes of practice, standards etc affect all of us.
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06-09-2003, 05:25 AM
Argus, well spoken. I would enjoy suggestions for another word other than "legal." Lawful? Ethical? Moral?

We could bog down quickly if we addressed legislative, for example.

But if we confined conversation to responsibilty, or best practices, or ethics, I think there is much common ground.

My worry is that what we statesiders consider law is much different than our brothers across the many ponds consider law. We are dealing with different enforcemnts and schedules and needs.

Now that I have rambled sufficiently.. I would prefer we think of "law" issues, as opposed to "legal" issues.

Legal implies lawyers... Law implies rules. I vote for using the word "law."

I think what we want is an ethical argument. I might be way off, but if we are just going to begin a discussion group who worries about the government requirements regarding how much inflammable pressurized gases one truck can carry, compared to other countries, there is no point to the discussion.

I would recommend the new forum titled "Laws."

06-09-2003, 10:43 AM
Firstly. apologies for the lengthy reply and thank you for that, to Dan and to everyone.

Some of us have strong views on the ways that regulation is affecting our work. In common with all matter of this nature we are tending to approach the topic from a defensive position. Is that right or proper?

In your comment you mentioned that you do things differently in your country, and that?s the main point. However rather than being definitive or prescriptive I believe that we need to inform and stimulate debate. That?s all.

One thing that is clear to us in the UK is the very clear political slant applied by some of our EC partners on the mainland. Those with a very strong northern European ?green? shade of opinion. I believe that this is not the case in the States. However it is very much the rule in Europe. The UK has a long and chequered reputation as being dissenters in Europe, this means that we like to inject a strong dose of common sense now and then.

As an example of the political trend and if you want to see what I mean, have a look at my post and the link about the new HFC regulations proposed by the commission. The proposed regulation is one of the EC?s applications of GHG emission controls agreed in KYOTO. Is it good? Is it bad? There is certainly a good business opportunity enshrined in it for service companies ? but it is also prescriptive; examine the application of the phase out of R134a in automotive a/c then come up with an alternative for cars that is
a) Available, affordable technology,
b) Safe. The likely candidates at the moment are HCs and Carbon Dioxide.
I know you won?t sign up for KYOTO, but would this happen in the States? What about Australia, South Africa, Far East?

To see the political side, take as an example the strong HFC debate in Europe. Other European players both within the EC and without have a different pack of cards on the table. The proposed HFC regulation, for example:

? Sweden banned HCFCs about 10 years ago (before their accession to the EC, I believe). They have some of the strongest national regulation in Europe.
? Norway (not an EC member, but in EFTA) has a punitive tax on HFCs in place. I think that as an example R404 attracts about ?80 a KILO). According to my discussions with some colleagues there, this tax has virtually killed off their service industry, particularly the fishing marine trade. (Any members in Norway care to comment?)
? Denmark is pursuing a ban on HFCs.
? Austria, likewise.
? Germany is considering one.
? Switzerland (another non EC member) has taxes and use regulation in place.

There is a temptation to be parochial on both sides of the Atlantic and in other places too, but there are 15 member states in the EC now, going up the 25 or so in a few years. That?s a market place stretching from the Russian border to Bordeaux, from the Artic Circle to Sicily. All, in theory, applying the same regulatory rules. All importers of product......

Returning to the point, I think that the main issues that concern me and lots of other people in this industry and that could form the nucleus of a discussion group are:

Different laws in different countries applying to our everyday business activities as engineers and manufacturers. Not necessarily whether you get sued for the shirt off your back or convicted of some criminal offence, but the means whereby you bring your product or your expertise to the market place cost-effectively and legally.
Health and Safety laws, licensing of operatives, maximum working time, etc.
Whether we like it or not, globalisation in standards is happening. Some standards have become quasi legal documents in this part of the world.
We have seen the Montreal and Kyoto protocols; I bet there?s more to come.

Are there any other important points I have missed out?

Many big companies have whole departments working on these issues and they usually try to stay away from strong titles and adopt some very anodyne names. Personally I would prefer to stay away from Morals Ethics etc as it is an easy way to put some folks? noses out of joint. 'Regulatory Matters', for example?

Sorry to ramble??it?s a huge subject.
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06-09-2003, 03:28 PM
You are right. It is a huge subject. The "it" has too many names and meanings. It needs to be pared down for reasonable discussion. But you have contributed greatly to a discussion that is, thus far, undefineable.

Perhaps we could refer to the "politics" of refrigeration? I think that would provide common ground for discussion. The only problem I have is I don't have a clue what "politics" means. Open up a new forum using the word you wish to define the discussions with, and begin with the best definition of the word you can think of. Your thinking is worthy of broad debate.

06-09-2003, 03:50 PM
Sorry Chaps,
It appears i have opened a very large can of worms !!!!.
My thinking behind the original post was that every week we hear about more legislation that will effect out jobs. Where do i start. New regulations with regards to refrigerents, health & safty, working hours (How are we meant to regulate out hours in this job), Air quality, the list goes on and so will i if if get started so i will stop. I am sure if somebody wants to start a new thread on each issue they will all get lots of replies. I will start the ball off and start one on the working hours legislation that appears to be coming in sooner rather than later

06-09-2003, 05:24 PM
The word "Sorry" seems inappropriate.

Go for it! I think Argus made a good point that corporations are global, etc.

Just do it. There is a lot of meat to chew on.

06-09-2003, 09:21 PM

As my honourable freind Herefish points out, the right home for LEGAL , and POLICIES, and ISSUES, is the Business Section

Our local journals, ACR Today. RAC, etc are full of the latest bumff on all sorts of regulations, I get my copies free of charge, except RAC, So a quick read of these will keep u up to date.

This is an international forum. Each country has its own set of laws, refer to your local bodies for rules appertaining to your requirements.

Danger of a "deluge" of information posted on this forum will deflect us from the real issues appertaining to Refrigeration , especially technical issues which is what this forum "in my opinion" is what its all about