COVID-19 is an evolving situation and we are doing our best to provide our members and clients with the best available advice. Our sympathies are with those who have had health related issues attributed to the virus and also all New Zealander's who have been affected by the consequent disruption of the level four lockdown. We support the governments efforts to control the impact of COVID-19.

What are Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Essential Services?

MBIE are regularly updating information to the public as the COVID-19 situation evolves. We encourage you to keep an eye on this website to make sure you are informed with the latest developments.

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 has placed essential business restrictions on the type of work that can be completed. At this point in time, the government has not directly prescribed what an essential service is in relation to our sector.  We are in regular contact with them to make it clearer but until we receive further clarity, you will need to make decisions about what is deemed essential and non-essential work. 

The most important piece of advice is to follow the Hierarchy of controls to reduce the transmission of COVID-19!

  • Eliminate  - Simply don't do the work.
  • Substitute  - Change how you work, online quoting, Skype/Zoom/Teams, teach your customers to perform simple tasks like washing filters and checking operating variables. 
  • Engineer - Use physical barriers that prevent contact 
  • Administration - Develop new SWMS/JSA/Bowtie procedures to ensure you assess the risk of transmission
  • PPE - Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control method. Use the admin controls to ensure you are using PPE effectively. 

Look after yourself & your whānau

a) Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure, including those in the supply and support chain.

Examples: Primary industries / Hospital / medical / Emergency Services air conditioning, ventilation installations.

b) Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains.

Example: Telecommunications / internet server rooms

c) Any entity involved in any work required to address immediate health or life safety risks, or to prevent serious environmental harm, and relevant essential supply chain elements.

Example: Anhydrous Ammonia release, Large Refrigerant leak (Emergency - will lose entire charge) Breakdown of Refrigeration to primary industry or Essential Food manufacturer, distribution, wholesaler or supplier. 

Ministry for Primary Industries Register for Safe Practice

If you provide an essential service to a primary industry, including critical support goods and services, you are required to register with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

Questions & Answers

What if I am asked to be an essential worker?

If you are required to work during the lockdown your employer must have suitable procedures in place that you should form a key role in developing.

Your Employer must also provide all personal protective equipment and consumables that are suitable for protecting you and your family from COVID-19. With the current supply issues with PPE this will be difficult. 

Where you required to interact with other workers, you may be required to wear respiratory protection in combination with eye protection. 

  • Respiratory and Eye protection must be replaced and/or sanitized under strict guidelines that have been proven to be effect against COVID-19

Disposable protective clothing may be used to avoid transmission into the work vehicle and subsequently your own home.

You should be supplied with disposable gloves that must be replaced regularly and an adequate supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant/bleach/Alcohol/Soap to spray to clean your tools and work boots, vehicle etc. 

You should clean all surfaces that may be touched by others regularly, you yourself must avoid touching any equipment you dont have to, and do not touch your face without washing your hands. 

Once you have completed work - ***WASH YOUR HANDS*** - then you should go straight home. Leave work boots outside, sanitize your hands again and go directly to the shower, washing your hair and body thoroughly. 

If you are concerned about your Health & Safety as an essential worker get in touch with us:

Is servicing a residential heatpump an essential service?

Not unless there is an "immediate risk to health" where there is no other form of heating available for the; immunity compromised, the elderly or infants. You are best to contact MBIE directly to confirm you are required. 

Is installing a Heatpump an Essential Service?

No. Unless it is required for an essential service to operate safely or you have received official confirmation to do so from MBIE for maintaining the health of at risk New Zealanders.

Additional resources

Any Essential Business MUST address the following.

1) Minimize, or eliminate if possible, physical interactions with other workers.

2) Ensure appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures are in place.

3) Restrict activity to only what is essential during the Alert Level 4 period.


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