What HVAC Workers Need to Know About OSHA — Occupational Health & Safety
What HVAC Workers Need to Know About OSHA
On December 29, 1970, then-President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Four months later, on April 28, 1971, it went into effect and slowly became the gold standard for workplace safety today. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the law comes into effect and it is still the number one thing we focus on when safety is a concern. What should heating, ventilation and air conditioning workers know about OSHA?
Risks to HVAC Workers
OSHA not only provides guidelines for worker safety but also helps outline the types of risks an employee may be exposed to in the workplace. Especially for HVAC workers, this is: includes risks such as::
● Hand over refrigerants
● Working on roofs
● Handling Wiring and Electricity
● Working in confined spaces
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does provide a detailed overview of some of the most common risk factors for HVAC workers that OSHA covers. How does the Working Conditions Act protect HVAC employees?
The primary safety concern when working with refrigerants there is a lack of oxygen. The substance will replace the oxygen in the lungs. They are difficult to expel from the lungs because they are heavier than air, leading to unconsciousness and eventual death. The OSHA regulations describe how to use these refrigerants safely, how to store them, and how to respond if there is exposure to refrigerant in the workplace.
Falling is one of the most common causes of fatal accidents at work, especially in the construction industry. It’s so common it is included as part of OSHAs “Fatal four.” HVAC workers who are on rooftops are at risk of adding to those metrics. According to OSHA, fall protection equipment is essential for anyone working above a certain height, which ranges from four to eight feet, depending on the industry, or on a certain roof class.