Every job comes with hazards so we take the appropriate precautions and wear the appropriate PPE. Many safety precautions are the same across industries and trades because the risks are similar. We take for granted the luxury of clean water running into and our buildings and wastewater running out. When problems come, however, plumbers can face several dangers during the repair. We’ve written about electrical wiring safety, general jobsite safety. Now, we bring you 11 plumbing safety tips from the Pros.
Quick Article Overview
- Know your codes—they exist for a reason
- Wear eye protection
- Gloves will prevent cuts and infection
- Protective footwear keeps you steady on wet surfaces
- Be aware! Gas lines, excessive attic heat, and more…
Personal Plumbing Safety Tips
1. Prepare for the Job
There are no shortage of cliches about preparation so we won’t attempt to create a new one here. But preparing for a plumbing job means looking up the appropriate plumbing and building codes to know what the job entails. Be sure to practice the skills needed – like soldering – before going to the job if you’re rusty. The reality of awkward positions is often more difficult than theory, so be prepared.
Most good safety articles bring up the eyes fairly quickly. It’s also one of our key plumbing safety tips. Plumbers need their eyes to get the job done. Put on some protective eyewear that won’t fog and leave it on. If you put eyewear on top of your head, it’s easy to forget you’re unprotected.
There are plenty of sharp, loud noises on a plumbing jobsite. Over time, these noises take a toll on a plumber’s hearing if ears are unprotected.
4. Cover Your Arms and Hands
Long sleeves protect against burrs and other cut hazards. Some Pros don’t care for gloves, at least during some of the job, because gloves can impede dexterity. But gloves play an important role in preventing infection. As such, they remain a key piece of safety equipment when plumbers come into contact with waste, hazardous industrial chemicals, and mold.
5. Protect Your Feet
Shoes may not seem like an obvious inclusion in an article about plumbing safety tips. However, walking is inherently more dangerous around puddles. Slip-resistant boots protect the feet and also the whole person from falls. There are even boots like the Keen Utility Tacoma that are resistant against many waste products.
6. Your Lungs Matter Too
Gloves protect skin from mold but perhaps a greater danger is mold inhalation. Masks protect a plumber’s lungs from mold and dangerous fumes.
7. Watch and Look Out for Your Head
A hard hat won’t always be necessary on a plumbing job, but it’s a good idea to have one handy. Plumbers wear them more often on industrial and new construction jobs.
Jobsite Plumbing Safety Tips
Plumbers experience extreme temperatures from working in attics during the Florida summer to basements in the Minnesota winter. This is no place to be a hero. Plumbers can protect themselves with appropriate workwear, hydration, and common sense.
9. Gas Lines and Power Off
Water, electricity, and combustibles don’t mix. If a plumber smells gas, it’s time to evacuate until the source is found and safety returns.
10. Use The Right Tools
Our plumbing safety tips wouldn’t be complete without talking about using the right tools. Every tradesman knows the value of the right tool. It makes the job easier, faster, and safer. Part of preparation is anticipating what tools might be needed.
11. Have Emergency Contact Information Handy
The Pros know who to call for all of the systems they contact – gas company, electric company, building supervisor, and homeowner.
We hope you’re safer now that you know these 11 plumbing safety tips. If you’re a Pro and you have additional plumbing tips to keep you safe, add them in the comments below. You can also contact us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with your own Pro tips.