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A career as an HVAC technician offers great job stability, interesting challenges, and a great salary on average. You’ll always find plenty of work opportunities and the ability to progress in this career path. Those who succeed in this career undergo proper training from experienced leaders.
While there are many benefits to working as an HVAC technician, a job as such requires a high level of caution and attention to detail.
HVAC technicians are regularly exposed to on-the-job hazards and risky situations. Safety is a must, no matter how seemingly basic the task at hand might seem.
If you’re serious about building a career as an HVAC technician, here are 7 must-know safety tips that will help you avoid any disasters:
1. Make Protective Gear a Priority
HVAC technicians should never let their guard down when it comes to wearing protective gear on the job.
In your daily duties you’ll be exposed to contaminants such as dust and debris, and fumes from noxious gases. Be sure to wear a respirator to avoid breathing in any harmful particles you’ll regularly come across.
If the respirator that you have doesn’t come with attached eye protection, make sure you wear either a face shield or safety goggles to keep your eyes safe. Drops of harmful liquid or flying particles of debris can damage your eyes if they aren’t protected.
It’s also essential that you wear gloves and arm protectors when you handle any glass or sheet metal. Doing so will prevent any serious lacerations to your arms or hands.
Another piece of protective gear that you should always wear while on the job is slip-resistant shoes. Wearing these will ensure that you’re able to maintain a steady footing. This is a must when working on slippery floors or around leaks.
If you might be working in an area where falling objects are possible, make sure to wear a helmet or a hard hat.
Lastly, HVAC technicians should invest in a good pair of earplugs to be worn whenever working in a loud environment for extended periods.
2. Use the Proper Tools and the Right Times
As a professional HVAC technician, you’ll have learned all about the specific tools you’ll need to tackle any job. Some of these tools include clamp meters, wire strippers, a vacuum gauge, various wrenches, an anemometer, and so on.
Leaks are always a threat to HVAC workers. Make sure that your tools of the trade include a leak detector as well.
Knowing how and when to use these tools is so important to keep you, and those you serve, safe. If you improperly use a tool or opt for the wrong tool at the wrong time, you could cause further damage to a property, injure yourself, or harm those nearby.
As you go about your business, make sure that your tools are always in good working condition. Routine tool maintenance is necessary to detect any defects or damage in your tools and to keep them working as they should.
Proper tool safety will always be a big part of maintaining a safe environment as an HVAC technician.
3. Be Able to Identify Hazards
Before you ever jump right into a job, take some time to look around you, and make a thorough assessment of the situation. You need to have a clear understanding of the conditions you’ll be working under.
HVAC professionals that are somewhat new to the profession should take extra care to examine their surroundings before moving forward.
It’s always better to take the extra time to make sure you’re safe and to do the job right than to rush it and end up with an injury or additional damage to your hands.
You might even want to consider undergoing some additional electrical safety training if you anticipate working around a lot of electrical equipment. This training should include how to provide rescue efforts in case of an emergency.
Sometimes electrical safety is included in on-the-job training, but if it isn’t, it’s a good idea to pursue the training yourself.
4. HVAC Technicians Should Practice Chemical Safety
With almost every job that you take on, you’ll be confronted with different chemicals, most of which can pose a very real threat to your health.
Some of these chemicals include cleaning liquids, solvents, refrigerants, and detergents. If handled incorrectly, they can cause major injuries.
Combustible chemicals can cause an explosion if proper care isn’t taken in their treatment. This is why it’s important to not only wear the right protective gear but to practice chemical safety at all times.
Make certain to always follow the safety procedures when you’re storing or transporting any type of chemical substance.
Never mix chemicals, even if they seem to be similar. Keep all chemicals in their original containers to avoid bodily harm. And make sure you follow signage and instruction each time you handle chemicals of any kind.
Less seasoned HVAC technicians are sometimes lacking experience in how to handle certain chemicals. Extra precaution is always recommended.
If you have any uncertainty about a particular chemical substance, educate yourself or ask a mentor or other expert before you handle it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Make Sure to Avoid Shock
Since dealing with electrical equipment is par for the course as an HVAC technician, you should take the necessary precautions to minimize any risk of electrocution or electric shock.
Electric shock is most likely to occur when you’re dealing with a water leak within an HVAC system. When water drips down onto electric parts within the system, the risk of equipment failure and shock is high.
The best thing to do to stay safe when working on a system while water is present is to turn off the main circuit breaker ahead of time. This will keep you safe from electrocution and preserve expensive equipment while you work on it.
6. Avoid Taking Shortcuts
While it’s very important to keep your equipment maintained, wear protective gear, and always survey your environment, none of these efforts will be very effective if you’re always looking for a shortcut.
Sometimes you’ll be faced with a task that will take longer than you anticipated. But taking shortcuts can spell disaster.
As an HVAC technician working with electricity, chemicals, and sometimes extreme temperatures, exercising caution means taking your time. While you might be tempted to rush a repair along, your priority should be safety.
Always follow full procedure and avoid taking shortcuts, no matter how simple the job seems. Being thorough is an important thing to remember on every job for the rest of your career.
7. Don’t Abandon Your Training
As you grow in experience and knowledge, there will be times when you’d rather do things your way and toss out the strict guidelines you learned in training.
Of course, the experience is a great teacher, and you’ll be more effective and able as time goes on. However, sticking to the guidelines and methods you were taught in training serves as a protection for yourself and those you work with.
There will be certain building codes and city regulations that you must adhere to preserve the integrity of the building and prevent damage.
It’s also important to participate in continuing education to make sure your HVAC knowledge is fresh and current. Continuing education will help keep you marketable and your skills relevant.
Get Your Career On Track Today
Now that we’ve gone over 7 of the must-know safety tips for up-and-coming HVAC technicians, we invite you to learn more about how to get trained as an HVAC tech yourself.
We offer educational career programs for those interested in getting to work as soon as possible in a career field that’s both challenging and rewarding. Our HVAC technician training program is among the best and will prepare you not only on how to repair and install HVAC systems but how to do so safely.
We’ve helped countless students on their way to a successful career in the service industry and we’re excited to do the same for you.
Learn more about the programs we offer by browsing our website and then give us a call with any questions. We’re happy to assist you in getting signed up for our upcoming courses. We look forward to hearing from you!