Unless you think of soldiers, firefighters and police officers, one does not usually associate dangers with most occupations. However, while you may scoff, even working in an office where you sit at a desk for eight hours carries potential dangers. Plumbers are no exception and encounter many dangers while fixing plumbing issues every day that put their health and lives at risk.
Natural Gas – Leaks and damages to gas lines can cause that natural gas to mix with oxygen. Excessive amounts of inhalation could lead to poisoning and death. Also, anytime a plumber works with gas, it increases the chances of a possible explosion.
Temperature and Pressure – First and most commonly, the temperature and pressure valve on a water heater ensures proper maintenance of safe temperature and pressure. If this valve is faulty, thermal expansion will cause the water heater to explode. Second, high temperature and pressure can be incredibly dangerous! High pressure in your home can cause your plumbing system to break and pipes to bust. High temperatures can cause scalding and burns.
Sewer Gas – You may not realize that waste is this toxic. But, sewer gas has the potential to kill you in your own home. Sewer gases originate from the decay of household and commercial waste and contain toxic gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. These sewer gases can enter your residence through a faulty floor drain or a leak/block in the plumbing vent. Potential dangers include, but are not limited to poisoning, asphyxiation and explosion or fire.
Roof – Plumbers access vents and cleanouts through the roof. I’ve heard a story of a plumber’s apprentice who got the bright idea to go on his own roof alone to clear a cleanout. He fell off the roof and landed in a very private area. He needed major surgery to have a testicle removed. No joke.
Heavy equipment – Toilets, water heaters and water softeners are heavy. Try lifting one by yourself. NO, DON’T! If you don’t have proper training and protection to lift these large items you could pull/strain a muscle or drop the item on yourself causing permanent damage to yourself and the expensive item.
Brazing and soldering – Burns and fumes can cause serious damage.
Electrical – There are quite a few electrical components related to various plumbing systems. Most water softeners and irrigation systems are computerized requiring advanced electrical training to be able to repair these costly systems safely. Plumbers work with electricity and are constantly in danger of being electrocuted.
How do plumbers avoid injury and death while encountering an array of problems in residential and commercial properties? They’re highly trained! Not every plumber knows these hazards exist or how to prevent them. Licensed and insured plumbers are required to know basic safety information in their trade and complete continuing education and OSHA hours each year to ensure they are up to date on any advances or changes to the rules. That’s why it is very important to make sure your plumbing contractor is both licensed and insured. If the contractor is not licensed and insured, the homeowner could be responsible for all damages to their own property.