President’s Message by Dave Rule

This issue of the Condenser is all about operations. As you can see from our cover, one of the most important factors in that equation is geographical location. The regional and local operating environments define the business and regulatory landscape across the country. And that definition, in turn, determines how we uphold our high standards for safety and efficiency. The role that the regulatory framework plays in our industry, and even more importantly, how we respond to and inform it, is a central focus for IIAR.

The IIAR Suite of Standards is the primary way we ensure safety and compliance both within the regulatory world and within our own facilities and operations. And because the Suite of Standards was written intentionally in code language, it has become a significant asset to our membership due to its adoption into building and fire code and the reference and recognition given to it by regulatory agencies.

That has been one of IIAR’s most important accomplishments, and thanks is due to our standards committee which has led the effort to develop and write these standards, as well as to the many IIAR member volunteers who have assisted in their formation. We also recognize the work of Jeff Shapiro and Lowell Randel, our code and government experts who have guided standards adoption into the code and regulatory community.

We’re currently working on two more standards that will provide significant benefit to our members, proper guidance for regulators, and improved safety in our end user facilities.

The first is IIAR-6, “Standard for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems.” Focused on inspection and testing, the final sections of the document are currently out for a fourth public review.

The complete document for IIAR-9, “Standard for Minimum System Safety Requirements for Existing Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems,” is currently out for a second public review.

Our standards committee and industry volunteers have vigilantly worked together, in accordance with ANSI procedures, to submit constructive comments and improve these important standards. And all of these important public review comments are being resolved to ensure the highest level of industry consensus.

Now it is vitally important to move these documents forward to address the needs of our industry and improve the safety, operations and practices in our facilities to make sure we keep pace with our rapidly changing technological and regulatory environment.

Unfortunately, our industry has suffered the loss of life in three ammonia release accidents in recent years. These events have highlighted, more than any message from me or advocacy effort ever could – the fundamental duty of IIAR members to uphold our industry’s high standards of safety by actively participating in the formation and adoption of our standards.

In all three events, the necessary practices presented in IIAR-6 and IIAR9 could have prevented these accidents and ensured the safety of operating and maintenance personnel.

Now is the time to move IIAR-6 and IIAR-9 forward to complete the consensus process and finalize the IIAR Board and ANSI certification process. Whatever role you have, whether you are directly involved in helping form these standards, or simply lead the implementation of IIAR’s Suite of Standards in your own facility, I urge you to take action.

The industry recognizes the need to address inspection, testing and maintenance in our facilities and to develop appropriate RAGAGEP (Regularly Accepted Good Engineering Practices) to ensure the safety of our personnel and regulatory compliance.

The operating facilities and safety operators are asking for these standards and I am happy to report that the IIAR standards committee and its many IIAR member volunteers are now ready to deliver.

This is a significant step forward for our industry in our mission to improve regulatory guidance and the general safety in all our facilities.

I’m looking forward to our organization’s focus on standards development and education programs at our annual conference in Phoenix. Our expanded program will present a dual track of both commercial and industrial refrigeration tech papers, workshops and panels. And as always, you, as an IIAR member, represent the experience and institutional knowledge that keep our facilities, operators and the public safe. Your participation and membership are vitally important.

See you all in Phoenix!