"A plumber is an adventurer who traces leaky pipes to their source"
The plumber has been on an adventure for well over 3,700 years now. Evidence of plumbing's principles can be traced back to the Island of Crete and the Palace of Knossos. See for yourself in the following image.
Minoan kings had bathrooms flowing with fresh hot and cold water.
Plumbing in its earliest form, like at Knossos, allowed kings to live a luxurious life. In our modern times, plumbing is the arteries that make up our modern way of life.
It delivers clean water to our homes and sends sewage and waste to treatment facilities. Beyond only sending water, a plumbing system conveys chemicals, fluids gases,
and liquids into industrial settings.
According to IBISWorld (new window), the Plumbing
industry was valued at $107 billion in 2018. In addition, the industry’s employees are growing at 4.!%. Since MCR Safety is in the business of
protecting people, we cover everything you need to know about plumbing applications and hazards below.
The word plumber comes from the Latin word "plumbum", meaning "lead". The first effective pipes used in the Roman era were made from lead pipes.
Plumbers work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places where there are boilers, heaters, and piping systems. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS)
reports that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters held about 480,600 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of these workers are as follows:
|Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors
|Heavy and civil engineering construction
Who is a plumber? For married women, a plumber is a person who repairs what the husband has tried fixing. Simply put, when you cannot fix your drainage problem, you call the plumber. They install and repair water, drainage, gas, and other piping systems.
According to the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association (new window), the transition from the outhouse to indoor plumbing spurred
gasfitters and metalworkers to specialize in plumbing. Today's modern plumbing industry involves workers that maintain plumbing fixtures, fittings, and equipment.
The following workers make up this industry today:
- Commercial plumber – trained to work on larger systems found in hospitals, refineries, schools, shopping centers, and industrial equipment. They work on massive commercial
boiler systems is the norm for this plumber.
- Residential plumber – These trained plumbers work in construction, both new construction and additions to homes. Repairing and maintaining existing home structures falls under
this plumber's daily work. They also construct pipe across an entire home.
- Service and repair plumber – They solve problems that arise in residential homes, ranging from draining clogged lines and repairing fixtures They also provide routine maintenance on septic tanks.
- Pipefitters and Steamfitters - assemble, install, and maintain pipe systems for steam, hot water, and processing systems. Most times, they specialize as gasfitters, sprinkler fitters,
or steamfitters. They install pipes that carry chemicals, acids, and gases to manufacturing, commercial, and industrial settings. In power plants, steam drives turbines that generate electricity. Pipefitters and
steamfitters are the ones that install the pipe systems producing the steam.
- Pipelayer – Lay pipe for storm or sanitation sewers, drains, and water mains. They perform tasks such as positioning pipe, cutting metal and sealing joints.
Albert Einstein once wrote the following:
"If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a
plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances."
Coming from Einstein, we might all want to consider the plumbing career path and trade. This tradesman performs a wide variety of activities during a workweek, most times working on their own and
Plumbers can be found installing fixtures such as appliances, dishwashers, bathtubs, toilets, dishwashers, and water heaters. They also maintain septic systems that collect waste from houses and
that are not connected to a sewer system.
A plumber's work ranges from feeding cable, lifting heavy materials and thawing pipes. Here are many of the activities you will find a plumber doing:
- Cleaning and unclogging pipes
- Corner beading
- Cut, threading and bending pipe
- Cutting and joining material
- Feeding cable
- Handling electric eels (Drain Snake)
- Handling pipes and fitting handlings
- Inspecting Septic tank systems
- Installing piping and plumbing
- Lifting Heavy Material
- Maintain plumbing structures and fixtures
- Replacing defective washers or broken pipes
- Tightening bolts
- Thawing pipes
- Welding components and pipes
A Plumber’s Tool Bag
In order for a plumber to complete the above activities, they need tools... A plumber's tool bag has an array of different equipment. From drain-cleaning tools, specialty wrenches,
and tools for working with a pipe, here are some of these workers use.
- Pipe Cutter – primarily used for cutting copper and plastic pipe.
- Pipe Wrench – an adjustable wrench with serrated jaws.
- Hacksaw – used for cutting small pipe.
- Spud Wrench – turns large, flat-sided nuts. An example would be locknuts on a sink drain.
- Basin Wrench – tightens hard-to-reach nuts.
- Chain Wrench – used on hard to reach pipes.
- Strap Wrench – similar to the chain wrench, with a strap replacing the chain.
- Plunger – used for clearing stubborn clogs in floor drains, sinks, and toilets.
- Trap-and-drain auger – long, flexible spring-like metal tube used for pushing and breaking up clogs.
- Closet (toilet) auger – short auger with a crank handle used for clearing toilet clogs.
"Safety is about doing the right thing, even if no one is looking."
Well, as Einstein said, plumbers are independent, so they must do the right thing because there is no one looking. Moreover, doing the right thing is necessary because they operate in a
dangerous work environment... If you doubt this, just look at OSHA's website for plumbing accidents (new window)
and review the numerous ways plumbers have been injured over the years.
With one of the highest rates of injuries across all occupations, plumbers must stay alert at all times. US industries average 3.2 recordable cases for every 100 employees. Plumbers,
working under NAICS code 23822, experience 15% more recordable cases, with 3.8 per 100 workers.
|Building Equipment Contractors
||Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors
When you are on the job plumbing, snaking a line, installing a water heater, or soldering a pipe, let MCR Safety keep you safe! We carry a wide range of gloves, glasses, and garments for
hazards plumbers face on a daily basis.