Refrigeration publication- " Safety First"

The HVAC service technician has one of the highest potential injury professions in the world. Most serious accidents occur about three years after they have started working as a hvac technician. They seem to know everything and take chances. This is caused by taking short cuts such as leaving your safety glasses in your vehicle a 1/4 mile away. The urgency of the job dictates over looking for your own safety. This refrigeration publication will assist you in all industries from process chillers to air-conditioning.  


The following manuscript was written from my own experiences in the field. I have personally been involved in over 50,000 jobs in the field for over 50 years. I'm sure you have your own stories which may be similar.  A few examples are given, but the rest are listing in my book.  This will be a great tool for anyone in the field and as must have for you or your technicians........

For some, this article would be a review to refresh your memory. For those starting out as a technician in the HVAC & R field, it could be invaluable in preventing serious injury.

Professional Refrigeration Troubleshooter

The first hands on Chiller/HVAC/R troubleshooting handbook is out in publication. This is a must have book for you and your service technicians.  It will save you time and money along with passing on the vast knowledge of 60 years experience.

Click here for details

Click here for E-mail requests

John C. Schaub Sr.
ASHRAE - Life Member
RSES - Life Member

Refrigeration safety

A good example is carrying your tool box, refrigerant drums, and other material up a 20 ft vertical ladder using one hand. This is dangerous and has caused serious injury. Always use a rope to pull up this material.

Any job requiring moving heavy machinery requires at least two persons be present for this work. Also working on a roof or in an empty building alone should be avoided. If you must work under these conditions, have someone check on you in person or by cell phone every hour. Don't take chances.

Another tip is to wear non-skid shoes ( not leather soles) particularly where oil or plastic granules are present on the floor. Steel tipped shoes are also recommended. It is also recommended not to have loose clothing such as unbuttoned sleeves or shirt tails out. Any moving machinery, (fans, compressor shafts, pulleys, etc.), and has caused serious injury. Long sleeved shirts will protect you from hot compressor discharge lines and pipes. Earrings, bracelets, and loose neck chains can also be hazardous. If you have long hair, cover it with a cap for your protection. Also make sure to wear earplugs wherever there is loud noise and hard hats when there is potential for falling objects

From the moment a technician starts his vehicle he is sitting on a time bomb due to the cylinders of refrigerant and acetylene he is carrying. First, secure these tanks from rolling around and make sure all valves are tightly closed. Many service companies will purchase large cylinders of refrigerant and recharge this refrigerant into smaller drums to save money. This is not only illegal, it is dangerous!! An over charged refrigerant drum could explode if left in a hot vehicle !! Don't rely on the refrigerant rupture disc.

You have now made it to the job site with your over charged drums without an accident or explosion. Congratulations !! This service call reveals a system under charged, requiring leak repair and recharging. The leak is found and corrected. You have other calls and decide to quicken the recharging by heating the refrigerant drum with a turbo torch. Since you have inverted the drum, you are driving raw liquid refrigerant into the compressor low side with the compressor running. Wow ! Goodbye crankcase oil !! It is possible to drive the crankcase oil into the compression chambers which could cause broken valve reeds or worse. Always charge the system into the low side as a gaseous vapor with the compressor running. Even then, watch for oil turbulence or low oil level in the crankcase sight glass.


Everything from brazing techniques that will save your life to hearing protection to let you listen to the winning lottery numbers on the radio.....Look below for the detailed handbook that has all of the safety needs you will ever think of in the HVAC industry...CLICK HERE...

Safety glasses When and where................. "lock outs", When and how...........

Initial Compressor Start Up

On starting a compressor, it is recommended to ...................................

Electrical Safety

The most common error made by technician's in the field is to turn off the wrong disconnect switch. The higher the voltage, the more serious the results. Always check the circuit you are about to work on with a volt meter to be 100% certain the power is off !

Use a reliable voltage tester when inspecting any electrical system.


Low Temperature Walk-in Freezers ..........................

My motto is "Take your time and do it right". If you work for a company that allows you to "overlook" these discrepancies, I would consider that you work for another company. From working with hundreds of HVAC&R contractors across the country, I have found that 98% do follow the rules to the letter. Learn to be someone who finds the safe instead of creating the dangerous problem.


Lots to read...take a look at the book, CLICK HERE.................


The first hands on Chiller/HVAC/R troubleshooting handbook is out in publication. This is a must have book for you and your service technicians.  It will save you time and money along with passing on the vast knowledge of 60 years experience.

Click here for details

Use your knowledge and stay alert.



This publication is designed to provide valuable information. It is presented with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering a professional service. Any duplication, whole or in part, for publication must be obtained in writing by the author.

The author disclaims any personal loss or liability caused by its utilization of any information presented in this article.

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