According to the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem), persons handling refrigerants require a special licence. The requirements and modalities for obtaining such a licence are regulated in the DETEC Ordinance on Special Licences for Handling Refrigerants.
1. Activities, which require a special licence
The following activities may only be carried out on a professional or commercial basis by natural persons with an appropriate certificate or with a qualification regarded as equivalent, or acting under the supervision of such persons (Article 7 paragraph 1 letter b ORRChem):
- the manufacture, installation, maintenance or disposal of refrigeration, air conditioning or heat recovery appliances or systems,
- the disposal of refrigerants.
The «disposal of refrigerants» means the handling of refrigerants with the aim to have them destroyed and the handing over of refrigerants to a specialist company as hazardous waste. As soon as the refrigerants are handed over to a company as hazardous waste, handling them no longer requires a specialist permit in accordance with the Ordinance on Special Licences for Handling Refrigerants.
2. Areas of application
Since 1 March 2020, the OSL-R contains two different areas of application (see AS 2020 27; available in German, French and Italian). Specialist licences issued after this date are therefore limited to one area of application and allow the activities listed in section 1 to be carried out within this area of application.
The two application areas are as follows:
a) Air conditioning systems used in motor vehicles, agricultural or construction machinery (Art. 1 para. 1bis Bst. a OSL-R).
This scope of application includes air conditioning systems in passenger cars, in buses and in the driver's cab of trucks, vans, agricultural and construction machinery.
b) Other appliances and systems used for cooling, air-conditioning or heat recovery (Art. 1 para. 1bis let. b OSL-R).
This scope of application includes stationary systems for air conditioning and refrigeration, heat pumps, artificial ice rinks, mobile refrigeration systems for the transport of goods (refrigerated trailers, refrigeration systems in delivery vans, ...), air conditioning systems used in cable cars and rail vehicles (trains, trams, ...), as well as appliances using refrigerants (mobile air conditioning units, refrigerators and freezers for household and commercial use, ...).
3. Validity of previous special licences
Licences issued under previous legislation (i.e. until 29 February 2020) remain valid. Holders of such special licences may carry out activities in both areas of application in accordance with section 2.
4. Recognition of training qualifications and foreign special licences
Certain educational qualifications from Swiss schools or vocational training establishments are recognised as equivalent to a professional licence. Likewise, certain foreign specialist licences are equivalent to Swiss special licences.
The list of training qualifications and foreign professional licences recognised as equivalent is available in section E of the following document:
Liste der als Fachbewilligung oder Sachkenntnis anerkannten Ausbildungsabschlüsse (PDF, 876 kB, 01.03.2020)(available in German, French and Italian)
Last modification 15.04.2021