Jobsite Safety Tips for Plumbers

By July 20, 2020November 18th, 2020No Comments

By its nature, plumbing work takes place in a variety of environments, and you need to be prepared with safety and common sense in mind. The following tips can keep you safe and productive on job sites.

Personal Protective Equipment1

  • Use appropriate personal protection, including safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield with eye protection.
  • Wear well-fitting gloves appropriate for the job you’re doing. If working on hot pipes, for example, wear heat-insulating gloves.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots with a protective toe area and non-slip sole.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts to protect your skin.

Avoiding contamination from the environment2

  • One area that plumbers have to deal with that many others don’t is human pathogens in waste products or raw sewage. It can also be in soil, and can enter the body through the nose or mouth. This is a particular concern if the plumber touches the sewage and doesn’t properly cleanse any area that has come into contact with it, particularly the hands. Exposure can also occur through open wounds or by inhaling dust.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to help lessen exposure, including gloves, coveralls, rubber boots and eye protection.
  • Wash your hands and decontaminate equipment after use.
  • Do not eat or drink while working in an area with potential contamination, and thoroughly wash your hands before eating.
  • After working with raw sewage or soil, wash immediately with soap and water. Proper hand washing includes using an adequate amount of soap, rubbing the hands together to create friction for about 20 seconds, and rinsing under warm, running water. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand washing but does help protect you.
  • Change out of work clothes before leaving the work site. If sewage has gotten onto your clothes, change them immediately. Soiled work clothes should be sealed in a plastic bag and laundered separately. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the clothing.

General Safety Tips

Confined Spaces3 – Be aware of some safety issues plumbers face regularly, such as work in confined spaces. Confined areas include sewers, pipes, ducts, tanks, boilers, and pits. Any space with limited access may be considered “confined.” Before entering any confined space, a trained and experienced person should identify and evaluate all the existing and potential hazards within the space, such as ensuring proper air flow.

Finally, here are some basic tips4 when using hand tools for safety and injury prevention:

  • Use the correct tool for the job.
  • Keep tools in good condition, and make sure they’re clean, dry, and properly stored when not in use.
  • Inspect tools for defects before use and replace or repair defective tools.
  • Make sure cutting tools are sharp, and keep sharp tools adequately covered when not in use.
  • Replace cracked, splintered, or broken handles.
  • Replace worn jaws on wrenches, pipe tools and pliers.

By following safety tips and staying alert, you and your employees can stay safe on the job.

How can you make sure you’re covered? Look to Merchants and our contractors programs  that provide flexible coverages to meet the needs of today’s contractors. Talk with your independent insurance agent to learn more.

 

Sources:

  1. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/occup_workplace/plumber.html
  2. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/occup_workplace/plumber.html
  3. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_intro.html
  4. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/hand_tools/general.html

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