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5 Safety Hazards for a Plumber



Plumbing can be a great career, but like any other occupation, it is a high-risk job.   Plumbers often expose themselves to significant risks of bodily injuries in the discharge of their responsibilities. To be on the safe side, they need to be well aware of the various safety hazards that their occupation pauses to them. Whereas some safety issues are mild and do not pose a life-threatening risk, some may lead to prolonged effects with unbearable consequences of permanent disability. Here are 5 major safety hazards that plumbers often face at work.


  • Exposure to hazardous material

Plumbers often come in contact with various liquid and chemical substances in the discharge of their work. Most of such chemicals and other liquids are often contaminated with harmful substances which, when inhaled, ingested, or in contact with the skin, can cause tremendous damage. In their work, for example, plumbers need to use chemical sealants such as primers and glue used to bond together metallic and plastic pipes. Such chemicals produce toxic fumes which when inhaled can cause tremendous damage to the lungs.


In addition, in their plumbing work, plumbers often come across stagnant water that is contaminated with asbestos and other chemical solutions that are often contained in water. Accidental ingestion of such water, even in tiny droplets, leads to severe digestive system poisoning, which may result in additional health challenges such as diarrhea.


Sometimes, such water may even contain harmful microbial organisms such as bacteria and viruses which may lead to the spreading of diseases, especially when handled without the proper personal protective equipment for plumbers. Besides, when such water comes in contact with their skin, skin burns, rashes, and acne may develop.


  • Injuries from hand tools

Plumbing tools are specific in how they are supposed to be used and applied. Cutting tools, in particular, are risky to work with since accidental misuse may result in cutting and piercing of the skin and body parts. Hacksaws and other electronic cutting devices cause plumbers to suffer risks such as severed fingers. In addition, tools such as pliers, wrenches, and hammers can cause significant pain and injury when they fall on body parts such as legs, hands, and the head.


Besides, the repetitive usage of certain hand tools by plumbers may result in indirect injury and safety issues. For example, plumbers who continuously work without taking rest may suffer repetitive strain injury. Continuously using a hacksaw to cut metal pipes may lead to hand blisters and wrist pain among other types of repetitive strains. 

Improper use of certain hand tools by improvising may cause plumbers to suffer tremendously as a result of the breach of safety recommendations. For instance, a plumber who uses wrenches in the place of a hammer may suffer projectile injuries in cases where the wrench breaks apart.


  • Risk of falling and debris injuries

Sometimes, plumbers need to access pipes located in extreme places such as along the walls of skyscrapers, rooftops, and even confined spaces. In such instances, plumbers need to wear safety harnesses to protect themselves from the imminent danger of falling. In extreme instances, however, such safety harnesses may not be sufficient to ensure protection from injuries by falling from great heights. Since plumbers are not trained on the concept of scaling of buildings, they suffer the tremendous risk of injuring themselves as a result of a poor assessment of their safety when working from buildings.


In addition, plumbers also suffer the imminent danger of being hit by falling debris, especially if they are not well protected by the use of helmets and other necessary personal protective equipment. This may happen in cases where the plumbers need to drill on walls, resulting in falling debris and dust which may lead to significant injury to the head and other body parts.


  • Common organ damages

The kind of working environment and equipment that plumbers use may cause them to suffer the tremendous risk of organ damage. Particular organs at significant risk include the ears, eyes, skin, and lungs. Ear damage is common in situations where plumbers use noisy equipment such as those commonly used for cutting, drilling, and digging depending on the scope of the work to be done. The noise produced from such a working environment causes plumbers to suffer repetitive eardrum pain. Prolonged exposure to such a noisy condition may lead to hearing impairment and even permanent loss of hearing.


On the other hand, plumbers may also suffer as a result of exposure to contaminants. Common contaminations that plumbers face include exposure to harmful water containing bacteria which when in contact with the eyes lead to inflammation. In addition, exposure to microorganisms such as mold which produces harmful powders may cause severe inflammation of the eyes. To prevent such risks and safety hazards, Conrad Martens maintenance plumbing recommends that plumbers should always wear the right personal protective equipment for self-protection.


The skin is also highly prone to potential hazards including inflammation as a result of coming in contact with toxic water and other chemical substances. This may lead to skin burns, acne, and other skin malformations. Lastly, the lungs may also suffer tremendously, especially in instances where plumbers work in confined spaces with a poor supply of fresh air. Such conditions often lead to mild conditions such as coughing and severe conditions such as lung cancer, asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.


  • The risk of electrocution and burns

In most cases, utility connection pipes to houses are normally bundled together and channeled through the same area. Pipes connecting the house to water, electricity, and gas can be easily confused if not properly labeled. Plumbers needing access to undertake repair works in such areas find themselves exposed to the imminent risk of electrocution, especially when they come in contact with bare wires or cut the wrong pipe.


Cutting pipes connecting the house to gas supplies exposes a plumber to an even bigger risk of a severe explosion accompanied by fire. Such risks can be life-threatening, especially in instances where the plumber does not use the necessary personal protective equipment and apply the right procedures when working under such extreme-risk conditions.