Orange ear protectors

With winter almost upon us, purchase and fitting of the new radiator in our refurbished kitchen could no longer be avoided. Rashly I had decided to fit it myself; I know not why, I guess I’m particular about who touches my pipes or something.

This isn’t just any radiator, mind; this is four hundred quid’s worth of tubular stainless steel art as specified by my beloved. Could I fit the energy-saving thermostat valve – no because it was “ugly”, ho hum chrome manual valves it is then.

First, risk assess the job

Well I didn’t fill a risk assessment out (I’m not that far gone) but I did give the following some thought:

  • Manual handling – It wasn’t heavy despite the price (even less for your money?). I even sought the assistance of number 2 son (numbering is so much easier than names) to hold the radiator in place while I marked up the wall. Man asks for help shock!
  • Access – vertical radiator 1.8 m long so steps to be used.
  • Pipe cutting – I have a new whiz bang pipe-cutter which is a joy to use, no more slicing up own hands with a junior hacksaw you just rotate this thing around the pipe and shazzam it cuts through and no burrs to cut yourself on either.
  • Using spanners for compression joints – no problem just make sure that knuckles are not in ‘line of fire’ if the spanner slips.
  • Drilling big holes in the wall- Ah, the most challenging operation. I knew I’d have to drill through a layer of plasterboard and a layer of plaster to get into the brick to make sure that it didn’t fall off the wall This meant drilling in 4 inches to be sure (over engineering if you like). Metrication is a fad that will pass by the way. No services under the surface, I knew this because I saw the cable runs when the sockets were put in. The house has an RCD so no electrical problems either. Of course eye protection was worn. BUT no hearing protection.

Ear defenders may seem like overkill but my ears were actually ringing once my trusty Bosch (other brands of drill are available) had screamed into the masonry. So why didn’t I wear ear protection?

The truth is that the noise hazard didn’t even enter my mind, I’m very hot on eye protection but I expect that subconsciously I see noise as much less significant. All of this despite the fact that my hearing loss is quite noticeable these days.

Maybe things would have been different if someone had been on hand to engage me in an involving and thought provoking discussion about the hazards of the job?

The lesson here: health and safety is just as important at home as it is at work, after all incidents affect your quality of life in both settings (even if ‘quality’ means you spend your weekends fitting radiators).