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HVACR is Hot: Safety is Important

August 1, 2011
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Mike Murphy

Mike Rowe, the host of The Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” television program, spoke to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on May 11, 2011 in support of unsung heroes - the same heroes he depicts on his weekly program. More specifically, he asked for a national publicity campaign for skilled labor, to address the widening skills gap in the United States.

The Rowe video has been making the rounds not only in the HVACR industry, but in nearly 50 other industries. Rowe has been employed in almost 300 different jobs for his program. As you might imagine, when he is asking for a national campaign, it not only would benefit HVACR but many of the dirty jobs that people do to keep our nation’s infrastructure intact.

The NEWS has an idea for Rowe’s next episode.

SOME LIKE IT HOT

Some of the jobs Rowe has performed on his program are quite literally dirty jobs. HVACR on the other hand, is only sometimes dirty. However, on August 1, it is almost always a hot job whether in an attic, up on a roof, or slithering through a crawl space. And, as recently evidenced in Minnesota, hot happens almost everywhere. Regardless of the season or the temperature, HVACR is a very hot commodity these days.

The distinguished gentleman pictured at the bottom of this page happened to be one of the judges, again this year, for the national SkillsUSA Challenge competition. Many of the young people who compete in regional and state SkillsUSA competitions to gain the privilege of competing at the national level in Kansas City, Mo., have discovered the opportunity that awaits industrious types who may be interested in technology and money. And, there are always those who truly enjoy creating things, repairing things, and otherwise working with their minds and hands at the same time. HVACR is the place for all of this, and more. This industry welcomes the young people who are learning about the interesting and profitable careers that await them in HVACR.

PLAY IT SAFE

Still, sometimes it’s a hot job in the literal sense; evidence the front page story in this issue that describes the importance of safety during varied and inconsistent weather conditions. Our friends at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) make a particularly consistent and strong statement among their respective memberships - safety is Job One. Member companies track safety performance and pride themselves on things like number of days worked without an accident on the job. In fact, MCAA and MSCA members often send letters to The NEWS chastising us whenever a worker is depicted without proper safety attire, or a ladder is being improperly used. As industry watchdogs of safety procedures, we couldn’t ask for better support from people who put their money where their mouths are - every day.

For example, when acetylene became in short supply after a March 21 explosion at a Carbide Industries plant near Louisville, Ky., which produced about 75 percent of the calcium carbide that was used in the United States, resulting in a major shortage of acetylene and safety concerns associated with the use of alternative fuels, MCAA and MSCA swung into action. Working with the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau, they got the message out. (For the complete Bulletin, go to http://bit.ly/oAqBCG.)

Safety in the workplace means a lot of things, from welding to driving the speed limit. And, especially at this time of year, it means paying attention to the dangers associated with heat exhaustion. In addition to tips for heat related illnesses in the workplace, the front page story also provides safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for working under extreme weather conditions such as flood waters or tornados. Oh yes, summer time weather brings it all.

AN IDEA

If you want to see Mike Rowe’s plea for a national publicity campaign, go to http://youtube/3h_pp8CHEQ0.

As long as we are thinking about publicity, I think the HVACR industry also needs to get some airtime on Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” show. Though perhaps not as interesting as baby chick sexing, the hot world of HVACR has a warm spot in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people - namely every person that has had the luxury of watching his show from the comfort of an air conditioned home.

Publication date: 08/01/2011
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