Plumbers show up in the strangest places. Unlike many other workers, your business takes you to a different location almost every day. You continuously find yourself in unfamiliar workplaces…which means you also face a new set of safety hazards in every new environment.
People who head to a factory or an office for a living have a limited number of safety hazards to worry about. They can learn the dangers of their environment and develop habits to avoid them. It becomes second nature.
Plumbing assignments don’t let you do that. You have to reassess your situation continually, as your work environment changes often. How do you do that? How do you stay safe while traveling to new situations?
The key is to concentrate on major categories. Keep particular types of dangers in mind and then review the landscape before each job. That way, you can spot the risks before you settle into your work.
Here are eight types of safety hazards all plumbers should be aware of:
Plumbing often involves crawling around in basements and other areas that don’t see much traffic. As a result, you might encounter hazardous materials that your clients didn’t know are there. This includes things like mold, asbestos, and chemicals. Keep these poisonous substances in mind as you enter the job site.
Hot Water Burns
People usually think of fire and water as opposites. That’s generally true, but they do have some overlap. Just like fire, when water gets hot enough, it can cause serious injuries. When you’re dealing with hot-water situations, take the necessary precautions to avoid getting scalded.
Plumbing is only one of many utilities getting pumped into any building. Electrical and gas lines are often interspaced with water pipes or concentrated in the same area. Watch out. These can cause serious electrocution or explosion risk.
You might have to climb a ladder to get to a particular set of pipes. Or accessing an area in a ceiling might cause something to shake loose. Either way, gravity can be a killer. Stay aware of these dangers, either of falling yourself or of getting hit by a falling object.
Slips and falls represent one of the most significant categories of workplace injuries. These risks are especially present in certain plumbing situations, where surfaces can get wet and slippery. Wear boots with good traction and watch out for potential slick spots.
Repetitive Movement Injuries
So far, we’ve looked at immediate dangers, the kind of events that can cause an injury in a single, sudden accident. But there’s a longer-term risk to keep in mind. Bending, reaching, pulling, grabbing, twisting – all the physical actions you do as a routine part of your job can take a toll on your muscles, bones, and joints.
Take breaks and avoid uncomfortable motions. At the same time, stay alert to the signs of repetitive stress. If you start to feel symptoms, you might need to change how you move around to avoid causing significant damage.
Your muscles aren’t the only parts of your body that respond badly to repetitive stress. Continued exposure to loud noises, like from running equipment or even from loud banging, can hurt cause hearing damage.
Not all dangers are physical. Working on precision projects and dealing with demanding customers can wear on you. Take steps to monitor your mental health and find ways to relieve stress caused by the job.
As long as you keep your safety risks in mind, plumbing represents a fantastic career path. You still need to find the best opportunities, though. By teaming with a strong recruiting partner, like LaborMAX, you put yourself in the best position to succeed over the long haul.