By Kenneth Harris
In Safety First: Part One, guest blogger Kenneth Harris discussed the risks associated with working on an HVAC system in rainy or wet conditions. Today, Harris will tackle chemical, ladder, crawl space, and insect safety.
Always handle chemicals with care! Acetylene, used in brazing, is unstable when it comes out of the Acetone solution it's stored in. 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, should be handled using protective gear. And 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, I recommend driving spikes into the ground so the ladder can't kick out.
I don't recommend aluminum ladders because we 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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Guest blogger Kenneth Harris is a technical trainer for HVAC Learning Solutions.