EU F-Gas regulations – Training and Certification Requirements for High Voltage Electrical Switchgear

Training and Certification Requirements for High Voltage Electrical Switchgear

This guidance is for organisations affected by the 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014). The F-Gas
Regulation creates controls on the use and emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases)
including HFCs, PFCs and SF6. The 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation replaces the 2006 Regulation,
strengthening all of the 2006 requirements and introducing a number of important new measures.

Training and certification is an important feature of the F-Gas Regulation as it ensures that technicians
understand how to minimise emissions during installation, maintenance and at end-of-life of
equipment containing F-Gases.

This Information Sheet describes the requirements that apply to training and certification related to
high voltage electrical switchgear using SF

Personnel Training and Certification – General Requirements

Activities covered by personnel training requirements

Personnel involved in certain activities on equipment that contains or is designed to contain F-Gases
require an F-Gas handling training qualification. In particular, this applies to:

• Installation
• Maintenance or servicing
• F-Gas recovery
• Decommissioning

Sectors requiring mandatory personnel training

The end user sectors for which these training requirements apply includes high voltage electrical
switchgear – this means electrical equipment of any size that contains SF6.
Who should hold a personnel training certificate?

All technicians that carry out the activities detailed above on high voltage electrical equipment
containing SF6 must hold an F-Gas handling certificate. This requirement applies both to in-house staff
and to personnel employed by external contractors.

An appropriate qualification for personnel working on these systems can only be awarded by an
approved certification and evaluation body. These are bodies that have been approved by the UK
Government, as detailed in GB Statutory Instrument 261/20091

Scope of personnel training

The F-Gas Regulation requires all EU Member States to provide suitable training programmes for
personnel working in these areas. The training programmes must cover:

• applicable regulations and technical standards
• emission prevention
• recovery of fluorinated greenhouse gases
• safe handling of equipment of the type and size covered by the certificate
NEW: information on relevant technologies to replace or to reduce the use of fluorinated
greenhouse gases and their safe handling.

The detailed scope of training is defined in European Commission Regulations published to support
the 2006 F-Gas Regulation. These Regulations are still valid.

The relevant training Regulation is:
• Regulation EC/305/2008 High voltage switchgear

This Commission Regulation specifies the required practical skills and theoretical knowledge and it
specifies the conditions for mutual recognition of certificates between EU Member States.

Validity of existing personnel certificates

Existing certificates issued in accordance with the 2006 EU F-Gas Regulation remain valid, in
accordance with the conditions under which they were originally issued.

It is important to note that the training requirements have been slightly extended in the 2014
Regulation, but this will not invalidate any existing certificates. Member States need to ensure that
all personnel holding existing certificates have access to information regarding each of the following:

• relevant technologies to replace or to reduce the use of F-Gases and their safe handling
• existing regulatory requirements for working with equipment containing alternative
refrigerants to F-Gases

It is not yet clear how this requirement will be fulfilled in the UK. It is likely that standard information
material will be prepared by experts and circulated to certificate holders via Certification Bodies or
training centres.

Other Related Information

NEW: Purchase of F-Gases

The F-Gas Regulation states that:

“Bulk supplies of F-Gases shall only be sold to and purchased by undertakings that hold the
relevant certificates or attestations”

Companies selling F-Gases will need to screen their customers to ensure compliance with this
requirement. In most cases the required proof is a Company Certificate. See Information Sheet 19
for further details about customer screening.

Exemption from Personnel Certification

The following exemption applies to trainees:

• Trainees are exempt for up to 1 year, but they must work under the supervision of a technician
with a valid F-Gas personnel qualification and must be enrolled on a relevant training course
to obtain an appropriate F gas qualification.

What is the status of a non-UK personnel qualification?

The EC F-Gas Regulation requires that Member States give mutual recognition to certification of
suitable qualifications from other EU countries. This will applies to certificates that meet the minimum
requirements specified in Commission Regulation EC/304/2008. The European Commission has
published a list of qualifications that meet the minimum requirements.

The SRAC industry and the world as a whole, now understand that fluorinated gases have a potentially devastating global warming effect when released into the atmosphere.

F Gas regulations have been implemented in order to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

On 2nd April 2008, the Commission Regulation 303/2008 set out the requirements for a company certification scheme.

This scheme is specifically for businesses working with F Gas refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases.

These F Gas Certification requirements are in accordance with Article 5.1 of EC Regulations 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the EC F Gas Regulation).