Plumbing Health and Safety

In previous articles we’ve looked at health and safety in various industries including the office, construction, restaurants and hair and beauty salons. In this article we will be looking at plumbing health and safety.

As with any industry its vital that plumbers take Health and Safety seriously. There are a number of risks associated with the profession including:

  • Exposure to hazardous substances such as lead, adhesives, solvents, solder, sulphur dioxide or asbestos.
  • Exposure to bio-hazards, including raw sewage and rodent and bird droppings.
  • Working with electrics and gas and the associated risks.
  • Exposure to noise.
  • Burns from the release of hot water or steam or coming into contact with hot surfaces.
  • Hazards from working in proximity to flammable or combustible materials.
  • Risk of eye injury from flying particles.
  • Risk of injury from working with various tools.
  • Working at heights or lifting heavy or awkward objects.
  • Slips, trips and falls on wet surfaces.
  • Working in awkward positions or confined spaces that could injure your back.
  • Stress and increased risk of injury from working alone for long periods of time or shift work.

Individuals or companies should  undertake risk assessments in order to identify the safety control measures which need to be put in place to minimise the risks of any work carried out. For more information read How To Carry Out A Risk Assessment and How To Write Your Company’s Health And Safety Policy.

Ignoring health and safety puts people at risk . . .

Plumbing in the News

Over the years there have been numerous cases where plumbers and plumbing companies have been prosecuted due to health and safety failings.

  1. Suspended sentence for unregistered plumber who failed to spot boiler faults – a Derbyshire plumber appeared in court for carrying out gas work without being registered and for failing to notice faults on an unsafe boiler.
    http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/suspended-sentence-for-unregistered-plumber-who-failed-to-spot-boiler-faults/
  2. Plumber fined after causing explosion at domestic property – a self-employed plumber was fined for safety failings that led to an explosion at a domestic property in Cambrian Way, Haslingden.
    http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/plumber-fined-after-causing-explosion-at-domestic-property/
  3. Maintenance firm in court after plumber suffers acid burns – a property maintenance firm were sentenced after one of its employees suffered acid burns to his face, neck and arm at a house in Heywood.
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/coi-nw-82cityresponseltd.htm
  4. Firm’s failures led to workers’ exposure to asbestos at Aberystwyth flats – significant safety failures by a plumbing company may have led to two workers being exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres during a major refurbishment project on flats in Aberystwyth.
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-w-superiorplumbing.htm
  5. Essex plumber may face prison after shoddy gas work left family in danger – an Essex plumber received a twelve-month suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of unpaid community service after his firm fitted a dangerous boiler in what was to be a child’s bedroom in a house in Clacton-On-Sea.
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-e-100.htm

It’s clear why plumbing health and safety is important and why training is paramount. Contact New Broom Training for bespoke training courses or take a look at our IOSH working safely course.