A health and safety guide for plumbers

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Posted on 15th May, 2015 | By Lorretta Tatham

As with any tradesperson’s job responsibilities, plumbers face a number of risks while working on the job. From exposure to chemicals and hazardous materials to basic manual handling risks, there are a whole range of things a plumber needs to consider to ensure their safety in the workplace.

Risk #1 Injury from poor, damaged or inadequate equipment

Equipment

Ensuring your tools are in a proper working condition is key to ensuring safety on a job.

While it may sound like common sense, it’s far too easy to use a damaged or unsharpened tool just because it’s all there is available.

Health and safety tips:

  • Inspect all equipment before use and only use if in good working order
  • Keep cutting equipment sharp to ensure optimum use
  • Cut away from your face and body to prevent injury
  • Store all equipment in a safe place to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands and doesn’t become a hazard in the workplace

Risk #2 Injury for improper manual handling

Injuries

Manual handling injuries have a major impact on all workplaces and sectors costing the economy hundreds of millions every year.

From lifting heavy equipment to sitting awkwardly and carrying out repetitive motions, the risks are endless.

Health and safety tips:

  • Attend a manual handling safety course – we run one of these courses and advise all employees to refresh their knowledge every three years. You can find out more about our manual handling training course here.
  • Take a break every thirty minutes of so if working in an awkward position or carrying out repetitive manual tasks.

Risk #3 Working from heights

Working at heights

From plummeting through roofs to falling from a height in an industrial setting, the risks of working at height injuries are real.

Health and safety tips:

  • Make sure the surface / setting you’re working from has been inspected and is 100% safe.
  • Use the right access equipment and PPE equipment to reduce the risk of falls and injury
  • Attend a working at heights course to maintain your awareness of potential risks and how to prevent injury. We operate our own work at height training course, which you can find out about here.

Risk #4 Exposure to chemicals and hazardous materials

Chemicals

As a plumber, the types of materials you could be exposed to include lead, asbestos, solvents, mould, raw sewage and more.

Many health risks come with being exposed to these materials and exposure to sewage and contaminated soil can result in Tetanus and Hepatitis A, B or C.

Health and safety tips:

  • Wear the correct PPE equipment to minimise exposure to materials. Your PPE equipment should include gloves, coveralls, rubber boots and eye protection
  • Wash your hands whenever you take a break and decontaminate your equipment after use
  • Install and maintain good ventilation at all times

To find out more about the wide range of safety courses we offer here at Browns Ladders, visit our Safety Training pages.

Have you got any other health and safety tips for fellow plumbers? We’d love to hear them! Leave your comments below or tweet them to us @BrownsLadders

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