Tips for Staying Healthy on the Job

Every job has the potential for injury. Stay safe by following these basic guidelines.

Tips for Staying Healthy on the Job

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On-the-job safety hazards put pumpers' and plumbers' health at risk every time they step onto a job site, with some of the most frequently reported injuries coming from routinely used tools and equipment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cuts from tools, falls from ladders, and burns from hot pipes and soldering equipment are common for plumbers. Add to that being exposed to the biohazards in raw sewage and the physical strain from repeatedly using the same tools and it is clear why there is significant potential for injury or illness if health and safety is not prioritized on the job. 

A few simple precautions can go a long way in maintaining health: 

Start with the basics

Ensure protection on the most basic of levels by investing in quality essential safety equipment including safety glasses, ear protection and gloves. Avoid the temptation to skip using them from time to time to get more done. The few minutes it takes to protect yourself can be the difference between remaining healthy and injury. 

Minimize aches and pains with everyday workwear

Clothing and footwear worn every day provide a solid foundation for protecting the body from common aches and pains. Look for pants with built-in knee pads and work boots with anti-fatigue technology. Footwear should also be waterproof and have non-slip soles and a safety toe. 

Invest in ergonomic tools

Tool design innovation has enabled tools to become lighter with better ergonomics. These upgrades address long-term repetitive safety, an area that can determine whether a professional will be able to stay in their careers or be sidelined by injury. For example, repetitive motions over prolonged periods of time can often cause irritation and inflammation of the tendon sheath of the hands and arms, a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The latest tools now reduce or eliminate these motions, resulting in less strain on the body, decreasing the likelihood of injury. 

Proper form is essential

Even with ergonomic advances in tools, proper form is essential to prevent unnecessary strain on the body. Take the time when using a new tool to learn the proper form. Read the instruction manual, watch how others who know how to use the tool are using it, and look for videos online that share best practices. 

Take care on stairs and ladders

Stairs and ladders are common in plumbing work and two places that injury is common. When using a ladder, remember to always keep three-point contact with either two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder. When a ladder is leaning against a wall, the bottom of the ladder should be one-quarter of the ladder's working length away from the wall, according to OSHA. On the stairs, consider using a motorized stair-climbing hand truck to make lighter work of carrying equipment up and down stairs and also don’t forget to use the handrail. Keep your hands free on both ladders and stairs by carrying tools in a tool belt.

Every job has the potential for injury but following basic safety guidelines, investing in a few tools to make lighter work of everyday tasks, and using common sense will help keep injury to a minimum and keep professionals healthy and able to stay in their career longer. 

About the author: Don Embree is an industrial design manager for RIDGID, a global manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in over 100 countries. Learn more at


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