Safety First: Part Two
In Safety First: Part One, we discussed the risks associated with working on an HVAC system in rainy or wet conditions. In part two, we’ll discuss the safety issues concerning chemicals, ladders, crawl spaces, and working around insects safely.
One of the most dangerous scenarios commonly seen is techs working on A/C units in the rain. This is a recipe for disaster, as water and electricity are a deadly combination. Never work on electrical projects in the rain or wet.
Always handle chemicals with care! Acetylene, used in brazing, is unstable when it comes out of the Acetone solution it's contained. Never lay the Acetylene tank on its side because Acetylene can come out of the Acetone and become explosive. If you do, make sure the tank sits upright for 24 hours before using it again. This allows the Acetylene to go back into the Acetone solution.
Other chemicals, such as refrigerant, must be handled using protective gear. When you're storing nitrogen or high-pressure tanks in your truck, make sure the tank is secured, tied down, and can't fall over causing the pressure regulator to break off. If the pressure regulator breaks off, the tank essentially becomes a missile and can cause serious harm.
Avoid a nasty fall from a ladder by properly securing it before climbing. Any ladder on a wall should extend 3 feet past the edge of a rooftop. For every 4 feet, you go up the wall, the ladder should extend from the wall 1 foot. If you're on a dirt surface, you may consider driving spikes into the ground so the ladder cannot kick out.
Aluminum ladders should be discouraged because techs typically work around a lot of electricity. The industry standard is a fiberglass ladder because it's not conductive. The only downside is that they have to be replaced sooner since fiberglass ages and sheds, so wear gloves to protect against fiberglass splinters.
Depending on your area of the country, watch out for snakes when you're working in crawl spaces. Wear gloves, coveralls, and a mask so that you can cover yourself if there are rodents or unsanitary conditions. Once you're done, be sure to take off those protective items so you don't contaminate your truck.
Have wasp spray readily available, especially when you're checking voltage or removing condenser covers, as it's almost impossible to spot a wasp nest before it’s too late!
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