Protecting your assets is part of your HVAC company’s responsibility, but it is important to realize that asset protection extends beyond just your tools and trucks. Your highly trained, skilled technicians are your most important asset. With the skilled technician shortage hindering HVAC companies’ ability to grow and generate revenue, it is even more important to do everything you can to protect their health and safety.
Workers who install and service HVAC equipment face all the hazards common to construction work — from lifting heavy materials to dangerous chemicals; from confined spaces to working at heights. Many of these hazards can lead to serious injuries or even be fatal.
Main hazards of HVAC work to watch out for:
- Inclement weather – Whether it’s the frigid winter temperatures or the sweltering summer heat, inclement weather is a primary concern for the HVAC industry as technicians often work in unconditioned spaces.
- Fall protection – They climb ladders onto roofs and into attics, not to mention running up and down countless flights of stairs, carrying heavy tools and equipment. The tool bag itself may weigh 40 to 50 pounds.
- Lifting hazards – Some equipment is heavy and awkward, especially depending on where the technician is trying to place it. Lifting and prolonged forward bending of the back, often required to install heating and air conditioning duct hangers and ductwork, can cause serious injury.
- Respiratory hazards – HVAC technicians are constantly exposed to respiratory hazards, as they can come in contact with dirt, dust, mold, airborne allergens, and harmful chemicals — like asbestos — while maintaining filters, duct systems, air handlers, and unitary equipment in different environments.
- Electrocution – Electrocution from electricity and wiring.
- Confined spaces – There must be at least two people on site when someone is in a confined space and when a worker starts brazing, they are using up oxygen. If there are two or three people in a confined space, the oxygen levels can deplete quickly and workers can become disoriented very quickly.
- Long hours – HVAC techs often work long hours and also drive between jobs, risking injury in a collision.
HVAC technicians must go through a thorough training program that focuses on knowing how to identify these varied hazards and how to work safely around them. Using an end-to-end HVAC contractor management software can also help to prevent injury and accidents.
Here are a few ways HVAC field service software can improve field service safety:
- Technicians can easily see what work was done previously on-site.
- Work orders or digital forms with required or sequenced steps ensure that field technicians are following the right safety procedures in the field. For example: they can not move to the next step of the work order without confirming that the main power to has been shut down.
- Timesheets and geo-tracking require technicians to log time and travel – ensuring that regulations regarding the amount of time worked are within legal guidelines.
- Access detailed information about equipment.
- Techs can take photos and videos to highlight safety concerns.
- Calculations are automatic.
- Easily share updated job site information, dispatch the latest health and safety forms, or inform field workers about new regulations.
- Links to tips, how-to-videos, and regulation handbooks easily accessible on their mobile device.
- Management can leverage historical health and safety data to help predict and prevent future incidents.
- Track the number of incidents per region, office, and/or team, identify the best and worst performing sites and teams.
- Share top performers to establish best practices across the organization.
- Safety data and reports can be easily accessible to both internal stakeholders and industry regulators.
Safety is mostly free, and accidents are very expensive! With proper safety protocols in place, you will:
- Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
- Improve compliance with laws and regulations
- Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
- Engage workers
- Enhance social responsibility goals
- Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations
FIELDBOSS HVAC contractor management software can help you ensure the greatest level of safety for the public and your technicians by giving you the tools you need to stay compliant, avoid headaches, and keep your team safe and informed. Contact us for a free demo or for more information.
Click here for OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for 2018.
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