How to Recognize Electrical Hazards

Here are some tips to help you recognize where to look for electrical hazards.

  • Exposed electrical parts
  • Inadequate wiring
  • Overhead power-lines
  • Wires with bad insulation can shock you
  • Electrical systems and tools that are not grounded or double-insulated
  • Damaged power tools and equipment
  • Using the wrong tool
  • Some on-side chemicals are harmful
  • Defective ladders and scaffolding
  • Ladders that conduct electricity
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Electrical hazards can be made worse if the worker, location, or equipment is wet.


Ammonia – 10 Things You Should Know


  1. Water absorbs ammonia to form ammonium hydroxide and has a high pH (alkaline).  Contain pooled amounts in a safe location so the ammonia solution can evaporate or otherwise be mitigated.
  2. Ammonia reacts violently with chlorine, acids brass, copper, silver, and zinc.  These elements corrode rapidly when mixed with ammonia in the presence of moisture.
  3. Large volumes of water dilute ammonia but form a highly corrosive ammonia hydroxide solution.  Avoid using water unless it’s absolutely necessary to protect live (evacuation or rescue).  Never put water on ammonia liquid, an aerosol steam, or an aerosol-dense gas cloud.
  4. Ammonia is easy to contain by tarping the component that is releasing it, especially for outside releases.  For inside releases, close doors and block openings to the buildings with a tarp.
  5. If an ammonia cloud is spreading toward your home or business and you cannot immediately escape upwind safely, stay indoors (shelter in place), seal the doorways and windows, shut off heating and ventilation systems, and wait until the cloud passes.  If ammonia vapor enters the structure where people are sheltered, consider using a wet washcloth over the nose and mouth to catch the ammonia vapors (rinse or replace the cloth if it becomes saturated with ammonia vapor), take shallow breaths through the nose, and/or move to a bathroom and turn on a shower.
  6. Free-flowing ammonia vapor tends to stay together in a a shape of its own, because in dense amounts it creates a cooler-than-ambient environment.  Ammonia travels downwind in a V-pattern and eventually dissipates upward into the atmosphere.
  7. Stay out of a cloud of ammonia contained inside a room, as it may be flammable and will be very cold.
  8. Allow ammonia vapors to escape to the atmosphere unless the release is causing a serious threat to life safety.  Dry, windy weather dissipates ammonia the fastest.  Humid and foggy weather results in poor dissipation.  Inversion pressures (smoggy day) slow dissipation.  Rain dissipates ammonia releases (contain the runoff until the pH is in the 7-9 range).  Ammonia will follow the wind direction and track along low valleys until is dissipates.
  9. The best overall method of handling a release is to control ventilation and reduce pressure by releasing it to the atmosphere (from containment within a building or under a containment tarp).  Allow ammonia to dissipate to the atmosphere if people downwind are adequately protected or evacuated.
  10. If caught in an ammonia release, escape laterally and move upwind.  When the release direction is difficult to assess, move inside to shelter in place or move toward someone who has proper personal protective equipment.

Source: Ammonia Safety & Training Institute;



Staying Powered for Fall/Winter

Just because the leaves have dropped and snow has fallen, depending on where you live, doesn’t mean it’s time for your HVAC unit to go into hibernation like a bear.  Most people think it’s okay to turn off their units once the weather cools down, but doing so could be costly in the long run.  Here are three reasons you should not power down your units during the fall/winter season:

  1. Year-round results: HVAC units don’t just cool and heat; they also circulate air and act as dehumidifiers when the cool fall air makes things damp.
  2. Cost-efficient: Constantly turning units off and on is not the ideal way to save.  It’s inexpensive to simply keep the units on, as long as homeowners adjust their thermostat to the home’s desired comfort level so they’re not needlessly cooling or heating.
  3. Fall maintenance: Keeping the units on gives dealers the chance to perform fall/winter maintenance and discover any problem areas before the units are needed for severe weather.Maintenance Agreement/J & R Heating

Data Protection is Key

Protect Your DataHere are a few steps you can take to protect your data.  Some are easier than others.

  1. Passwords.  You need to get rid of your passwords.  A quarter of the data breaches studied could have been prevented if the victimized companies had required more than just a password to get into the system, per a Verizon Study.  It’s easy for hackers to crack passwords because users normally use pet names, birth-dates, and other easy-to-remember numbers for them.
  2. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it (  Wikipedia’s definition of encryption is “Encryption does not of itself prevent interception, but denies the message content to the interceptor.”  There is one downfall of getting your data encrypted…it’s pricey.  To know if data encryption is for you, weight the cost to the dollar value of the stolen data.
  3. Vendor Check.  The same Verizon Study that was mentioned before also notes that between one-fifth and two-thirds of data breaches are linked to hackers breaking into vendors or other third parties to gain access to bigger companies’ data.  For example, the Target hack that happened almost two years ago, sadly, happened through an HVAC company.  To ensure your companies data, there must be oversight, which means following up with vendors so they can prove their cybersecurity programs and track records.  Also, have them sign a document regarding their cybersecurity approach.
  4. Do not leave the Internet doors open.  This can be done by keeping track of all tablets, smartphones, and computers that have access to the Internet and your company’s digital footprint.  Almost 25% of breaches come from computers that don’t need to be online, per the Verizon Study.
  5. Keep up-to-date with software patches, especially with operating system updates.  If the software on your computers are not updated, you are leaving yourself at risk to hackers.

Article taken from ACHR News magazine.