The sign above says it all.  I have had that on my bulletin board for over 20 years as a reminder that SAFETY IS ALWAYS FIRST!

OSHA is just one set of rules that need to be followed.  There are local rules and even company rules, all in place for your well-being. You should be aware of all these rules and following them.

One of the best rules I ever heard, and I preach in all of my training classes, is —Trust your SIXTH SENSE and when it tells you not to do something — DON’T DO IT!  Think about it.  Every time you have been hurt or saw someone get hurt on a job, it’s because they did not follow the above rule.  We all think we are invincible and can cheat occasionally and that is usually when accidents happen. I’ll give you a true life example:

I have a relative who is a fireman.  You would think a fireman would know ladder safety?  He was working in his garage on a “A” frame ladder and tried to reach for something in the rafters.  Well, the next thing he knows is he is on the ground with a couple of cracked ribs.  He “broke the rules”and reached across the ladder beyond his shoulder, the ladder went one way and he went the other way and came down on the ladder cracking his ribs. He knew he shouldn’t do it, but, broke the rule, and got “caught” this time.  He was off work for over 3 months because he “broken the rule” and didn’t trust his sixth sense when it told him not to do it and to move the ladder to the right spot. How many time have you reached like that from a ladder or climbed up on the top step?

This is just a simple example of ignoring the rules. We all need to be aware how to work safely.

The following is taken right out of our ProficienTECH training manuals. If you have never taken the time to read — here is the perfect opportunity to, maybe, learn how to work “SMART”.

Job Site Safety

Keeping the job site clean of trash, extra tools and equipment will significantly reduce the chance for injuries. Since each job is unique and has its own hazards, all new workers to the area should be made aware of the location of fire and first-aid equipment, fire escape routes, and other dangers.

Hazardous Materials

Many different chemicals and compounds are used in the service and installation of HVAC systems. Please read the directions and use caution along with PPDs whenever handling these materials. Read and understand the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for all materials used.

Confined spaces

Never enter or work in a confined space without taking the appropriate precautions. Have someone available outside the space ready to assist or summon help if necessary. Even spaces that seem relatively safe can quickly become hazardous if a pipe were to break and fill the space with refrigerant, steam, poisonous fumes or other gases. Welding or brazing in a confined space is especially hazardous.


High pressures have always been part of the HVAC profession. With the new refrigerants, such as R-410A, it is even more crucial that technicians realize the dangers of these gases. Wear the proper personal protective devices including safety glasses and gloves. Proper hose ratings and manifolds are required for the new high pressure refrigerants.

Electrical Safety

Jewelry should be removed prior to any electrical work being performed. Ensure that the equipment disconnect switch removes the primary power source prior to taking resistance readings or disconnecting any wires or connections. Removal of system power should be verified with the voltage function of a multi-meter. All electrical safety guidelines should be followed at all times. Only trained, qualified technicians should perform electrical maintenance, installation, inspections and troubleshooting of electrical equipment.

Electrocution occurs when as small as 6 to 200 mA of current flows through the heart disrupting its normal operation and causing death. Electrical shock is an injury that occurs as a result of exposure to an electrical current. Inspect all extension cords and power tools regularly.

Fuses and circuit breakers are designed to protect equipment, not people. For personal electrical protection, GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are highly recommended.

Lock-Out Tag-Out

 Fire Safety and Burns

While brazing, keep combustible material away or use a heat shield to help reduce risk of fire.

Check equipment regularly and never try to modify or repair regulators.

First-degree burns affect the outer layer of the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. Second-degree burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of the skin, causing pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Third degree burns extend into deeper tissues, causing brown or blackened skin that may be numb.

Other Safety Topics

There are also a lot of programs out that cover ladder safety, high voltage arc flash and other safety topics.  I cannot emphasize enough the need for safety on any job. If you are not familiar with a certain aspect of safety, the internet has a lot of free information available for you to look at and review.

As my posting started off — SAFETY SHOULD ALWAYS BE FIRST!


About yorkcentraltechtalk

I have been in the HVAC industry most of my life. I worked 25 years for contractors on anything from residential to large commercial boilers and power burners. For the past 23+ years I had been employed by York International UPG Division ( a division of Johnson Controls) as a Technical support/Service Manager but I am now retired. One of my goals has always been to "educate" dealers and contractors. The reason for starting this blog was to share some knowledge, thoughts, ideas, etc with anyone who takes the time to read it. The contents of this blog are my own opinions, thoughts, experiences and should not be construed as those of Johnson Controls York UPG in any way. I hope you find this a help. I always welcome comments and suggestions for postings and will do my best to address any thoughts, questions, or topics you may want to hear about. Thanks for taking the time to read my postings! Mike Bishop
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