Technicians should make safety a first priority when working on any refrigeration system. There are many potential hazards associated with installing, servicing, and maintaining these systems. One of these potential hazards is the refrigerant within the system. Although many (not all) refrigerants in use today are considered relatively safe, if mishandled they can lead to a serious injury.
Many refrigerants used today carry an A1 safety classification. The “A” represents their toxicity rating, based on the level to which an individual can be exposed over his working life without ill effects. Class A refrigerants are identified as having no toxicity at concentrations at or below 400 ppm. The “1” represents their flammability characteristics. Class 1 refrigerants do not show flame propagation when tested in air at 14.7 psia and 65˚F. Not all refrigerants in use today carry an A1 safety classification, so one of the first precautions a technician should take is to identify the refrigerant used in the system and follow the safety guidelines associated with that refrigerant.