People who work on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are known as HVAC technicians. This is highly skilled work which requires extensive training. In New York State, HVAC technicians must renew their licenses every three years, a process that requires continuing education to remain up to date with necessary safety standards. This is essential to prevent serious injuries to HVAC technicians and the people who are living and working in the buildings where they operate.
HVAC technicians face significant risk of workplace injury as a result of heavy physical labor, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and the possibility of falling or being struck by falling objects. HVAC accidents can even be fatal.
If you are an HVAC worker who has been injured in the job, call the construction accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353. We will review your eligibility to get fair compensation that will cover the cost of your injuries and any wages you may have lost from missing work.
HVAC technicians must remain alert to the many hazards their job entails. They perform a variety of tasks in commercial and residential structures. HVAC technicians work with chemicals and gasses that must be properly handled at all times. They confront the following hazards on a daily basis:
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Electric shock and electrocution
- Falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds
- Getting hit by falling ducts and support frames
- Wrongful death
- Heavy lifting injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
HVAC technicians handle a variety of dangerous substances, including solvents, refrigerants, and cleaning liquids. Many of the chemical solvents they use may cause irritation or burning when they make contact with the skin. Certain cleaning chemicals can be noxious, and toxic gasses known as chloramines can form if bleach is mixed with ammonia.
The many odorless, colorless, and noxious gasses that HVAC technicians are exposed to can cause serious injuries and even death, especially when they are working in an environment that isn’t well ventilated, such as a basement. For example, nitrogen gas can cause air-displacement-asphyxiation, and carbon dioxide can cause heavier-than-air asphyxiation. HVAC technicians should always refer to OSHA guidelines when storing or handling acetylene, oxygen, nitrous oxide, hydrogen, or anhydrous ammonia.
HVAC workers must use the proper PPE, including safety glasses, protective footwear, and HVAC work gloves. Carbon monoxide detectors, gauges, and self-contained breathing apparatuses are required for working in an enclosed workspace.
Refrigerant cylinders must always be handled with care and stored in a cool, well-ventilated, and fire-resistant area. The toxicity of refrigerants may increase when they are exposed to heat. Full and empty refrigerant cylinders should be stored separately, away from gas cylinders.
Cylinders should be secured at all times with straps or chains connected to a wall bracket to prevent rolling or falling. Always transport cylinders using hand trucks with secure straps. Dropping or striking a gas cylinder can turn it into a dangerous flying “torpedo.”
Visually inspect cylinders for leaks, bulging, defective valves, dents, pitting, rusting, and corrosion. Do not use any cylinders that don’t pass visual inspection.
If you are an HVAC technician who has been injured on the job, call a NY workers' compensation lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 today. Our team will fight to get you a fair settlement that will pay for your medical expenses and other costs related to your injury.