There are a variety of hazards that pose a danger to commercial HVAC technicians. Risks they contend with on a regular basis include electrical and chemical hazards, asbestos exposure, equipment temperature, slippery surfaces, falls, and more. They have a tough job to do in conditions that aren’t always optimal, so ensuring that their safety is a high priority on every job site is critical.
What are some things that facilities teams and building owners do to ensure that technicians there to troubleshoot problems or replace equipment are safe while on-site?
Fall Protection: Ensure that guardrails are installed where appropriate. Install anti-slip mats where appropriate. While some technicians may come prepared to your job site with every bit of PPE (personal protective equipment) required, they may not know the specifics of your site. Have appropriately sized ladders on-site and personal fall arrest systems, if necessary.
Electrical Hazards: Ensure that lock-out/tag-out procedures are followed at your facility and that power supplies are disconnected before any technician performs electric work. Ensure that all equipment is wired appropriately. Be aware of rated voltage versus supply voltage.
Asbestos exposure: Asbestos can be found in a variety of places where commercial HVAC technicians have to go, especially given that they are often working in ductwork in commercial properties where insulation with asbestos can sometimes be found. If you are aware of the presence of asbestos in your facility, please be sure that you let the technician know and provide respirators recommended by OSHA.
Equipment temperature: Technicians are sometimes required to work on hot equipment. Having heat-resistant gloves on-site is not a bad idea if any of your HVAC system equipment operates at temperatures.
Slippery surfaces: Busted pipes aren’t an uncommon factor in the life of an HVAC technician. Be sure that you have appropriate materials on-hand to sop up additional water if you know a technician is on-site to troubleshoot problems with your HVAC system.
By following a few common-sense guidelines, we can all do our part to keep commercial HVAC technicians safe on every job site. For more information about job site safety, please visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) website.