Certification of Personnel Handling Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-gases) and Companies employing such persons

A person handling F-gases is required under European and Irish law to be appropriately certified in order to ensure that F-gases are not emitted to the atmosphere while working on F-gas containing equipment. Different awards are required depending on the type of equipment and the activity being undertaken. Training requirements for each sector are specified in EU Commission Implementing Regulations.

To obtain the appropriate certificate, you will need to undertake training with a training provider linked to a certification body approved by a European Union Member State. In Ireland, the certification body is Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).  They have developed training standards that comply with the EU requirements for the various sectors outlined below (other than for solvent recovery). From 01/01/2021, UK F-gas certification body awards are no longer recognised in the EU

Under Article 10(7) of the 2014 F-gas Regulations (EU No 517/2014), existing certificates and training attestations issued in accordance with the previous F-gas Regulation (EC No 842/2006) shall remain valid, in accordance with the conditions under which they were originally issued.

Stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning, heat pump equipment, and the refrigeration units of refrigerated trucks (>3.5 tonnes) and trailers

You must have a personnel F-gas certificate for the following activities:

  • the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair, decommissioning of equipment containing or F-gases or relying on F-gases for their function
  • the recovery of F-gases (not contained in foams)
  • the leak checking of this equipment above specified thresholds

There are four categories of certification available for the above equipment depending on the activities performed:

Category I: Certificate holders may carry out all the following activities for any size of the above equipment containing F-gas refrigerants - installation, maintenance and servicing, repair, decommissioning, leak checking and refrigerant recovery.

Category II: Certificate holders may carry out the following activities for the above equipment containing F-gas refrigerants subject to some limitations- installation, maintenance and servicing, repair, decommissioning, leak checking (provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing F-gases) and refrigerant recovery (from equipment containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases or less than 6 kg for systems if hermetically sealed).

Category III: Certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery from systems containing less than 3 kg of F-gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed).

Category IV: Certificate holders may carry out leak checks provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing F-gases.

Training requirements for this sector are specified in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2067.

Stationary Fire Protection Equipment

You must have a personnel F-gas certificate for the following activities:

  • the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair, decommissioning of equipment containing or F-gases or relying on F-gases for their function
  • the recovery of F-gases (not contained in foams)
  • the leak checking of this equipment above specified thresholds

Training requirements for this sector are specified in Commission Regulation (EC) No 304/2008.

Mobile Air Conditioning Systems

You must have a personnel F-gas attestation (qualification name for this type of equipment) if you undertake the recovery of F-gases from the air conditioning systems of cars (passenger vehicles with 8 seats or fewer)and light vans (goods vehicles weighing less than 3,500kg). Training requirements for this sector are specified in Commission Regulation (EC) No 307/2008.

Electrical Switchgear

You must have a personnel F-gas certificate for the following activities on electrical switchgear that contains sulphur hexafluoride (SF6):

  • the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair, decommissioning of equipment
  • the recovery of SF6

Training requirements for this sector are specified in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2015/2066.

Recovery of F-gas Solvents

You must have a personnel F-gas certificate to recover solvents containing F-gas from equipment. Training requirements for this sector are specified in Commission Regulation (EC) No 306/2008.

F-gas Company Certification

Companies (including sole traders) undertaking tasks for which personnel must be qualified for other parties on the following categories of F-gas containing equipment must be certified:

  • stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment
  • refrigeration units of refrigerated trucks (>3.5 tonnes) and trailers
  • stationary fire protection equipment

The Irish company certification body is F-gas Registration Ltd. However, a valid company certificate issued by a certification body in another Member State of the European Union is mutually recognised in Ireland. Similarly, any company certificate issued by FGR will be recognised in all other Member States.

Offences and Consequences of Not Holding Required Certification

You are reminded that, under Regulation 13(1)(a) of European Union (Fluorinated Greenhous Gas) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 658 of 2016, it is an offence for a person, operator or undertaking, that does not hold the required F-gas certification to engage in an act without the required certification or attestation.

There are other consequences to not having a valid F-gas handling qualification and/or F-gas company certification, if required, such as:

  • You will not be able to purchase bulk F-gases if F-gas company certification is legally required to enable the purchase
  • You will not be able to purchase non-hermetically sealed equipment charged with F-gases as F-gas company certification is legally required to enable the purchase
  • You will not be able to get F-gas company certification where required if at least one staff member does not hold an appropriate, valid F-gas handling qualification

Equipment operators must take reasonable steps to determine whether any company they engage to perform relevant tasks for which F-gas certification is required holds the necessary certificate.