Safety First: Part One

By Kenneth Harris

HVAC technicians face a lot of risks on the job every day -- and when it comes to safety, you definitely don't want to cut corners. Whether you're a first-year tech or a seasoned veteran of the HVAC industry, brush up on these common safety scenarios to avoid dangerous injuries.

Rainy/wet conditions

One of the most dangerous scenarios I commonly see is techs working on A/C units in the rain. This is a recipe for disaster -- water and electricity don't mix! Never work on electrical projects in the rain, or even when it's wet outside.

  • Disconnects/circuit breakers -- When you shut off a disconnect or circuit breaker -- never assume the voltage at the equipment is 0 volts. Circuit breakers can fail and disconnects can be wired incorrectly. Take out your voltmeter and measure the voltage at the equipment and see if it is indeed 0 volts before proceeding.
  • Equipment ground -- To prevent electrical shock from touching equipment that has an energized frame, make sure the frame is grounded.
  • Lockout tag out -- When working on equipment where the circuit breaker panel or disconnect is out of your line of sight, shut off the circuit breaker or disconnect, lock it in the off position and install a lockout tag. The tag should include your name, company, why the breaker is locked out, and the date to help keep others from energizing the equipment without your knowledge.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) -- Prevent electrical shock by connecting all electrical test equipment to a GFCI outlet or using a built-in GFCI extension cord or power strip. A GFCI circuit prevents electrocution by tripping the GFCI breaker in fewer than 25 milliseconds when a ground current has up to 5 milliamps of flow.

Check back this Thursday for Safety First: Part Two, for even more tips from guest blogger Kenneth Harris on chemical safety, ladder safety, and more!

Make HVAC safety a priority with BuildATech® training and the Technician Safety on the Jobsite and Safety Fundamentals classes in DaveNet®. For more technician tips and training advice, check out our YouTube videos.

Guest blogger Kenneth Harris is a technical trainer for HVAC Learning Solutions.


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