Whether you are a professional or a do-it-yourselfer, workplace safety should be a top priority and especially true for plumbers. Plumbing often requires wedging yourself into tight cramped areas and possible exposure to harmful chemicals. Practicing workplace safety means taking the proper precautions and protecting yourself. To the professional plumber, the workplace is making calls in field. To you, it is your own home and property. Here are a few tips to help assure your safety.
Dehydration is a serious matter and can compromise workplace safety and your health. Staying properly hydrated is good advice for all home projects, not just plumbing. It is suggested that people drink at least 8 large glasses of water per day and more during hot weather. Unfortunately, many people do not drink the recommended amount of water, preferring to get their fluids from sodas, coffee, teas, alcohol etc…, all of which can have a diuretic effect. Dehydration is a safety concern because it affects your ability to do your job well. Its symptoms are feeling dizzy, anger, impatience, tiredness, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and short attention spans. All of these can affect your quality of work and compromise your workplace safety, not to mention jeopardizing your health.
Exposure to toxic substances
One of the main hazards a plumber comes across is exposure to toxic substances. Lead, asbestos, adhesives, mold, solvents, solder, and sulfur dioxides are among a few of the toxic substances that can affect the health and workplace safety for plumbers. These may exist in your home and you might not even be aware of them. A professional plumber has received the proper education to recognize these and has been provided the proper gear to help eliminate personal exposure. When it comes to lead and asbestos, extreme caution should be taken with proper remediation done by a specialist. The older your home, the more you should consider using a professional plumber.
Infections from animal droppings
Plumbers find themselves in odd locations which may be or have been inhabited by birds and rodents. Toxins from their droppings can be airborne and make you really sick when inhaled. Again, the education received by the professional plumber and the gear available to him make him better qualified to recognize and deal with these hazards. All the while, you stay healthy.
Tight spaces and awkward positions
Most likely, you don’t need this article to know plumbing jobs often take you into tight crawl spaces and require awkward positions which can lead to back and hip problems. You might even feel that the locations for plumbing fixtures have been engineered to be inconvenient and painful. If your job requires you to be in a confined space and an awkward position, the first rule is to make sure you can extract yourself. Take frequent breaks and stretch to prevent cramping. If it doesn’t restrict your mobility, consider wearing preventive protective gear like back braces, knee pads, and good shoes with proper arch support.
Injury from various tools
Plumbing sometimes requires the use of specialty tools that may cause injury if you are not careful and properly trained in their use. Substituting the tools you have around the house for tools specifically designed for the task at hand increases the likelihood of personal injury. Be sure that you or anyone using dangerous tools is mentally and physically unimpaired. This includes not using heavy machinery or dangerous tools when tired or fatigued.
Whether it’s plumbing or another household project, you could also injure yourself through improper lifting of heavy objects, slips and falls, and injury from flying particles. Remember most workplace safety concerns can be avoided. Good education, professional training and having the proper equipment help to reduce many workplace safety concerns. A professional plumber comes to you with the skills and knowledge to professionally and safely get the job done right.
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