View Full Version : Another propane incident in NZ

13-01-2013, 07:43 AM
Maybe someone can fill in details, apparently a coolstore was being worked on that was not labelled.
A tech changing a TX valve in coolstore got a fireball in the face.
A retrofitted old R22 plant to propane with no labeling.
Scary stuff if no one bothers to label anything etc.
Apparently owner of coolstore did'nt even know!

13-01-2013, 09:26 AM
Hi Ranger, this article puts it as 2010


13-01-2013, 10:41 AM
Hydrocarbon refrigerants have so many incidents from domestic refrigerators to cold stores and the availability of the refrigerants is uncontrolled and easily available, in an industry of ours where the level of competency and regulation is extremely poor.

HC refrigerants in comparison to ammonia have a level of explosive limit that is far more dangerous.
(concentration % for an explosion to occur)

Propane 2.3 - 9.5%
Isobutane 1.4 - 8.3%

The design control for installations with HC refrigerants is poor and as in the mentioned cases plant owners were not even aware of the retrofit.

Ammonia 15 - 28 % To reach an explosive concentration of 15% the level is easier to detect before explosive concentration is reached. The activation of ventilation would ensure level is designed to be kept below explosive limit.

Auto ignition temperatures are lower on HC refrigerants and energy release is far greater.

Enough preaching the virtues!, if we can get rid of the cowboys and untrained/poorly trained working on our systems we will get the respect back in our industry. With governing bodies we will be able enforce pricing levels, recognition of standards and acceptable practices. Customers will appreciate the standards and be willing to pay for the level of service they require, as the "cowboy" will not be able to undercut prices and standards.

In the UK you will not get a customer in the Heating industry if you are not Gas Safe registered (Not saying they are perfect, far from it actually) but there is a general awareness of standards and attempts to try to get technicians to these standards.

We need a body with real teeth and representation at law making levels in government not these parasites we currently have!

13-01-2013, 08:00 PM
Hi Ranger, this article puts it as 2010


thats a bit embarrasing for me a sboss sends WHS warning etc with no obvious date on it.
Sorry to jump the gun.

13-01-2013, 08:22 PM
well over here if i get a new customer that has no idea whats in his system then i tell him i cannot work on it until i know so for me to find out will cost him money for my time to find out whats in it,would not dream of attaching gauges never mind the gas axe!so guys come on LABEL! ALL PLANT FOR SAFETYS SAKE!