According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers are exposed to a significant number of workplace injuries and illnesses, including burns from soldering equipment and hot pipes, falls from ladders, and cuts from sharp equipment. Therefore, an important part of preventing workplace accidents is being aware of dangers lurking on your job site. Some of the common occupational hazards plumbers face include:
- Exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals
One of the occupational hazards associated with plumbing is exposure to toxic gases and carcinogenic materials. Examples of such chemicals and materials include sulfur dioxide, drain cleaners, solvents, lead, and asbestos. Therefore, you should wear the right PPE, such as gloves, eye goggles, and breathing masks to protect your skin and eyes.
Septic tanks and sewage pipes also pose serious risks to plumbers. If you’re exposed to contaminated soil or raw sewage during the course of your work, you can be infected by viruses, funguses, parasites, and bacteria. The infections can lead to diseases such as hepatitis, E.Coli diarrhea, gastroenteritis, and more.
- Extreme temperatures
In many regions across the U.S., plumbers have to brave extreme weather conditions that lead to extremely hot or frozen pipes. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of severe injuries. Therefore, you should take the necessary safety precautions when working in extremely hot or cold conditions.
- Burns and electrocution
It’s common for different utility lines to run through the same utility channel. However, this can pose a risk to plumbers, especially if the lines are not labeled properly. If a plumber, for example, makes a wrong judgment and cuts the wrong pipe, say, an electricity line or a gas line, they can be electrocuted or burned. The plumber can also cause an explosion that will damage the client’s property. Therefore, you should follow the right protocols and wear suitable PPE when working in situations that expose you to burns and electrocution risks.
- Height/Falling objects
Plumbers often have to work at heights when fixing pipes located in elevated places like skyscrapers or rooftops. In this case, the risks are high because you can slip and fall or be hit by tumbling objects. To reduce the risk of being hit, slipping, or falling, you should use certified attachment points and safety harnesses as well as wear the right PPE, including a helmet.
Slips and falls are some of the most common causes of workplace injuries. To lessen this risk, you should watch out for slippery spots and wear shoes with good traction.
- Repetitive movement
Repetitive movement injuries can be difficult to identify because they develop over time. However, the twisting, grabbing, pulling, reaching, bending – all the routine movements you make while working can take a toll on your joints, bones, and muscles. You should, therefore, avoid uncomfortable movements and take regular breaks. Additionally, you should always look out for signs of repetitive movement injuries and seek medical treatment if necessary.
- Noisy environment
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that nearly 50% of plumbers report hearing loss. To protect your ears when working in a noisy environment, you should wear the right PPE, including earplugs or earmuffs.
Not all hazards are physical. Working on complex projects with tight deadlines and dealing with demanding clients can be stressful. Ensure you have ways of relieving work-related stress to protect your mental health.
To keep your plumbing business afloat and to protect yourself and your employees, you need the right insurance policies. At Artisan Insurance Solutions, we will help find cost-effective workers’ comp, general liability, tools & equipment, business auto, and other insurance policies that protect you, your workers, your clients, and your equipment. Contact us today to get started with your customized coverage!