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A2L refrigerant not the cause of VIC accident

A Victorian Worksafe investigation is believed to be continuing after an air-conditioning unit exploded at a luxury home in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Brighton in February, causing severe burns to the tradesman working on the unit.

A report in the Herald Sun newspaper said the 21-year-old was servicing the air-conditioning unit when it exploded in his face, causing burns to 80 per cent of his body including his face, chest and legs. 

The fourth-year technician reportedly threw himself into the pool on the premises and was helped by passers-by, including an off-duty nurse, who assisted him until paramedics arrived and transferred him to The Alfred hospital, where he was admitted in a serious but stable condition.

The Herald Sun said a team of eight Worksafe investigators attended the property a few hours after the accident, which took place around 10am on February 23. 

Contrary to unconfirmed reports, VASA understands that the refrigerant used in the air-conditioning unit at the Brighton mansion was not the mildly flammable (A2L) synthetic HFC refrigerant R32 but non-flammable R22 (HCFC-22). 

While no official findings into the case have been handed down, VASA believes oxy-acetylene was used to cut through a line that was under pressure, causing oil to escape and atomise, then ignite. 

Worksafe was unable to provide details on the status of the investigation when contacted by SightGlass News