HVAC/P is the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing industry’s go-to source for safety information and product news. The magazine covers a broad range of topics related to heating and cooling systems, water systems management, and sanitation to keep professionals in the know. Companies and contractors use this information to improve their operations and services at the residential and commercial levels.

Browse our published articles here:

Getting the Job Done Safely: Best Practices for HVAC Lockout/Tagout September 5, 2023

When maintaining or repairing HVAC equipment, professionals must lockout or tagout the machine to prevent it from turning on. Use these LOTO procedures to stay safe on the job. READ MORE


Respiratory Hazards in HVAC & Tips for Protection August 4, 2022

Keep the following inhalation hazards in mind when working with HVAC systems and whenever possible, wear a respirator that filters and protects against these specific contaminants. READ MORE


PK Safety has written articles to HVAC/P Magazine to highlight the potential risks of working with HVAC systems. HVAC workers, technicians, and installation crews need to protect themselves from airborne hazards that can lead to respiratory illness. As a leading provider of gas detection and respiratory protection equipment, we specialize in helping all types of workers and companies find the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task at hand. 

Use these HVAC/P news resources to read up on the latest products and incident prevention techniques used in the ventilation industry.  

What are the risks facing HVAC workers?

HVAC systems can trap dangerous gases and pollutants in the air if they aren’t working correctly. These professionals often work on this equipment indoors, which can put their health at risk. Moving and working around these machines can also leave workers with aches, sprains, cuts, and lacerations.  

We explore some of the most common HVAC hazards and how to get around them.

Electrical Shock and Electrocution

Workers should always use caution around electrical equipment. The HVAC system must be disconnected from the power grid before the work can begin. Many machines use rotating fans, gears, belts, and other moving parts that can snag clothing and injure the crew. 

Technicians may want to use the lock-out tag-out procedure to prevent anyone from turning the machine back on while the repairs are being made. The crew should also test the system to ensure it’s off before getting too close. 

HVAC workers can wear non-conductive clothing, including rubber gloves and sleeves, to reduce their risk of electrocution. 

Electrical hazards can turn into flash fires. Workers need to wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing to prevent severe burns. The material reduces the speed of the fire to give the crew more time to escape.  

Chemical Exposure

Cooling and refrigeration systems often use coolants and other chemicals that can burn the skin. Some cleaning products can cause irritation. The crew should wear chemical-resistant gloves, face masks, or a hazmat suit to dispose of the fluid carefully.  

Poor Air Quality

Ventilation and insulation can reduce indoor air quality, increasing the risk of illness and disease. Individuals with preexisting health conditions tend to be even more susceptible to these hazards.  

If the HVAC system isn’t working, environmental hazards unrelated to the equipment will linger in the air. Many people use portable generators during a power outage, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can’t be detected without a monitor. 

The HVAC system can also spread harmful pollutants through the building if the air quality is compromised. Chemicals, asbestos, silica dust, bacteria, fungi, and mold often collect indoors, putting HVAC workers at risk. Companies can also use ventilation equipment to bring clean air into the workplace using blowers and fans with hoses.  

Hot Surfaces 

Workers can easily injure themselves when coming in contact with hot surfaces if they aren’t wearing the proper equipment. They can use a clamp temperature meter to measure the temperature to see if it is safe to touch. If the crew needs to handle hot objects or surfaces, they should use thermal gloves that absorb extreme heat to avoid burning themselves.  

Cuts and Lacerations

Many HVAC systems come with sharp edges, wires, and grates that can cut through ordinary fabric. When moving or repairing this equipment, the crew should wear cut-resistant or impact-resistant gloves to protect their hands. Everyone should wear close-fitting clothing that doesn’t hang or drag so they don’t get caught in the machine. They should also tuck their sleeves into the wrists of their gloves.  

Poor Visibility 

These technicians respond to HVAC emergencies day and night. Anyone working in the dark should wear high-visibility clothing with neon colors and reflective materials to stay seen. Workers are much more likely to injure their hands if they can’t see them. The team should wear high-visibility gloves with neon colors to see where they are reaching.  

Slips and Falls

Temperature changes can lead to condensation, spreading moisture around the room. The crew should use caution when entering the space and guard off any slick areas. They can use a condensate drain to quickly remove the hazard. Workers can also wear slip-resistant boots to avoid falling when the ground is wet. 

Repairing and installing HVAC systems can sometimes mean working more than 10 feet off the ground, which increases the risk of injury. Those working on elevated surfaces should wear a safety harness anchored to the work environment.

Noise Pollution 

Exposure to loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss. HVAC systems can emit loud noises over the acceptable threshold of 85 decibels over an 8-hour time-weighted average. The crew should test the sound levels and use hearing protection if needed. 

What kinds of PPE do HVAC professionals use? 

HVAC professionals use a wide range of PPE when responding to jobs in the field. The essential safety gear includes:

  • Safety gloves (cut-resistant, chemical-resistant, thermal, or rubber)

  • Fall protection equipment 

  • Hard hat

  • Safety goggles or face shield

  • Earplugs or earmuffs

  • Slip-resistant boots

  • High-visibility clothing

  • Hazmat suit for cleaning up chemicals 

PK Safety also highlights safety supply products that make it easier for HVAC professionals to do their jobs. We offer complete task-specific kits for various jobs, including burner and boiler, heat pump, condensing, and furnace maintenance and installation. 

These HVAC/P resources are here to simplify the PPE selection process. Use this information to prepare for any job that comes your way.