On average, a British plumber works 47 hours a week, spending around half that time on their knees.
This prolonged kneeling can have a detrimental effect on the joints leading to prolonged pain and loss of earnings due to injury downtime.
The IPG an online platform for independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists undertook a survey last month and has just published the results, which make painful reading.
Over Half Fear for their Knee Health
The study discovered that 57% of the 184 plumbers surveyed felt that they would need to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future and nearly two thirds (59%) felt that they would be forced to retire early because of the knee injuries related to work.
Not surprisingly, those who have been working for over 30 years had the most serious issues, with 68% stating they have had physio, keyhole surgery or other operations on their knees.
Tony Dark, director of trade at The IPG, said:
“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We would like to urge all plumbers and installers to ensure they are using specialist protection while on the job.”
“It is also essential that if any plumber or installer starts to have any trouble with their knees that they consult a GP straight away in order to discover any possible problems early on to avoid more serious issues.”
How to Protect your Knees at Work
The HSE’s website offers advice to on preventing Lower Limb Disorders (LLDs) and here’s a list of things to help lighten the load
- Wear knee pads: they are useful for protection whilst kneeling on hard floors, but they do not mitigate the risks of extreme flexion of the knee
- Encourage your bosses to use staff rotation to lessen the time you spend carrying out work in uncomfortable positions
- Take regular breaks to stretch out your knee joints
- Wherever possible, use a chair rather than kneeling on the ground
If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself – or your employees – from harm at work, Logic4training’s Working Safely course defines hazard and risk, identifies common hazards and sets out ways to improve safety at work.
For more information click here