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HVAC: ergonomics

HVAC workers are required to do extensive labor with hands, material handling, bending, pulling, etc., which can
create many potential ergonomic hazards. Taking appropriate precautions is key to preventing musculoskeletal


Ergonomic hazards in HVAC:
– Excessive exertion or stress from drilling or using other hand tools
– Holding and installing components overhead; sometimes for an extended period
– Lifting and transporting material by hand on the job site
– Pushing, pulling and rolling equipment to reposition
– Cutting and trimming duct pieces
– Welding

Ways to address these hazards:
– Try to avoid high vibration tools; use side arms when available to gain more control and ease of use
– Report poor performance of tools or those in need of repair
– Use extender poles and bits when possible to alleviate unnecessary strain
– Utilize scaffolding and lifts when possible to reach a high point
– If an extended period is spent kneeling use knee pads to ease pressure
– Take micro-breaks when necessary; rotate between tasks to avoid repetition
– Use a forklift, pallet jack, dolly or cart for material handling when possible
– Utilize ramps or manual lift aids to move or reposition material
– When placing a large unit use a crane, if possible
– Use of pulleys and conveyors to position material can reduce strain

In addition to these steps develop a stretching and warming up process before beginning work. Putting thought
into each of these areas and others that may cause strain or stress will be vital in injury prevention.


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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