On Monday 11 March, professional plumbers across the land can hold their heads up high, as we celebrate World Plumbing Day. Initiated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC) - of which the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is a member - World Plumbing Day highlights the global water and sanitation crisis, while also promoting the important role that plumbing plays in the health and safety of modern society.
While here in the UK, we feel a million miles away from dangers of severe water shortages and the sanitation crisis seen in the developing world, it’s clear that plumbers still have a vital role to play in keeping the nation safe. Longstanding issues such as hot water scalding, Legionnaires’ disease, water efficiency, lead in water supplies and pollution caused by plumbing misconnections, are all first world plumbing problems that can be detrimental to the safety, welfare and health of the public.
In many ways, the role of the modern plumber is set to hold even more significance. With fresh water supplies dwindling, plumbers will be on the front line in safeguarding our most critical of resources.
However, this all seems to be overlooked. CEO of the CIPHE, Kevin Wellman, commented, “Good plumbers really do protect the health and welfare of the nation, and it is high time that plumbing professionals got the recognition they deserve. There is no doubt there are unscrupulous tradespeople in the industry, however, the majority are highly skilled and work to an exceptional standard. These are the people the Institute represents.”
The CIPHE is currently engaging with consumers and the Government on issues such as public toilet provision, the rise in scalding and heating system related contact burn incidents and the need for regular plumbing system health checks. The Institute is putting particular emphasis on the important role that professional plumbers play.
Kevin continued, “We cannot ignore that each year many hundreds of people, including the vulnerable are affected by poorly designed, installed and maintained plumbing systems. At the CIPHE we are currently working in partnership with other leading industry bodies to help raise standards of education and raise concerns direct with Government on skills, compliance and safety issues. As an educational charity we encourage consumers to make the right choices when it comes to employing a tradesperson. However, we still recognise that in the current climate, more needs to be done to make all plumbing systems safe and sustainable. This is why we continue to back the introduction of a licence to practice which is prevalent in many countries across the globe.”