Safety is a major concern in any workplace orientation or job. In plumbing, safety cannot be overemphasized, especially given the fact that plumbers expose themselves to significant risks of bodily injury. To maintain personal safety, they need to observe crucial safety precautions targeted at keeping themselves at arm’s length from potential plumbing safety issues. Here are some tips on the various safety precautions that plumbers should be aware of in their work.
- Know and prepare for the task
The first important safety tip for plumbers is to always evaluate the kind of work they need to engage in and to ensure that they sufficiently prepare for it. Knowing the scope of work to be done requires that they inquire on crucial details including the working height and space, the kind of plumbing issue they will be handling, where the plumbing problem is located in the house, and the kind of plumbing pipework they anticipate to work on. Having information on such areas ensures that the plumbers can prepare sufficiently by obtaining the right kind of protective equipment necessary to ensure personal safety.
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment
Plumbing is a hands-on job. Plumbers, therefore, need to be well aware of the various safety risks they expose their body parts to when handling plumbing tools and pipework. To ensure sufficient protection, plumbers need to use the right plumbing personal protective equipment (PPE). Among the crucial and basic PPE that should always be considered include:-
- a) Eye protection – Plumbers need to protect their eyes from projectiles, especially whenever cutting metallic or plastic pipes, resulting in the release of tiny particulate projectiles. Using safety goggles for eye protection prevents such projectiles from causing harm. Such protection is also necessary in cases where plumbers cut live pipes which lead to gushing out of water. Eye protection, in such a case, comes in handy in preventing dirty water from accidentally coming in contact with the eyes.
- b) Hand and leg protection – Plumbers use various tools which pose different levels of safety risks. By wearing the necessary hand protection such as high-density and durable hand gloves, plumbers are sure to keep their hands and fingers safe from potential hazards such as accidental cutting or piercing. Leg protection, on the other hand, also helps in instances where falling debris can lead to crashed toes.
- c) Ear protection – Plumbers normally work in confined spaces while using mechanical tools which produce high pitch noise. To keep themselves safe from the potential risk of noise pollution which may damage the eardrum, plumbers need to use earmuffs or earplugs. Such protection also helps prevent tiny projectiles from accidentally entering the ear.
- d) Mouth and lung protection – Sometimes, plumbers need to use lung protection by wearing dust or gas mask, depending on the risk and working environment they operate in. The gas or dust masks help keep away potential hazardous material such as dirty water and dust from inhalation or ingestion. The hazardous gases contained in confined spaces in which plumbers work should also be prevented from inhalation by using gas masks.
- e) Head protection – Using a helmet for head protection is a basic safety measure for every plumber. It helps in instances of falling debris which may result in major or minor head injuries. Using helmets for head protection also helps in cases where plumbers work in confined spaces where the risk of accidentally banging the head on a wall is high.
- Extreme temperature protection
Sometimes, plumbers’ services are demanded during winter or even summer when the temperatures are extreme. In addition, they may also be required to work on plumbing connections which carry water in extremely high temperatures. In either case, extreme temperature protection is necessary. In both instances, for example, the plumbers need to wear special hand gloves that are designed to protect the hands from extreme cold or hot temperatures. This helps to prevent frostbite and scalding of hands as a result of low and high temperatures respectively.
- Using the right tools
According to the Conrad Martens Body Corporate plumbing, using the right tool for the right task ensures that they perform their work faster, easier, and in a safe manner. Therefore, before undertaking any plumbing job, plumbers need to be well equipped with the necessary tools that will facilitate the successful completion of their tasks. Improvising on different tools can be so dangerous and cause a risk of injury. They also need to be well aware of how to use different tools for different purposes accordingly. The wrong use of a tool can result in exposure to tremendous risk of bodily injury.
- Disconnect utilities
Sometimes, plumbers need to work on plumbing lines that are adjacent to other utility supply connections such as gas and electricity. In such cases, the risk of electrocution or causing an explosion is significantly high, especially in cases where the plumber cuts the wrong pipe. As a safety precaution, plumbers need to always disconnect all utilities, including electricity and gas, from the mains to prevent such accidents. To prevent further loss and incidences, plumbers need to double-check every move they make before cutting any pipe.
In addition, they also need to disconnect the water supply before undertaking any repair work in a house. This helps to prevent instances of working on active pipes which poses an additional risk of causing an unnecessary mess of spillage of water in the house.
- Being properly assisted
Some plumbing tasks may be so minor that plumbers do not require any assistance. Some tasks, however, can pose multiple risks, especially those which require working from great heights or confined spaces. Being in the company of a second person acts as a safety measure, especially in cases of imminent risks such as suffocating, falling, or critical injury. The extra set of eyes helps in emergency cases by raising the alarm in case of critical injury.
- Follow the right procedure
Precision in plumbing work is highly necessary, especially when working with specific tools or special cases of plumbing issues. Following the right plumbing procedures when undertaking pipe repair work helps prevent any related potential injuries.