Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters held about 425,000 jobs in 2014, of which 61 percent were in the plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors industry. About 1 in 10 were self-employed.
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places where there are pipes or septic systems.
Plumbers and fitters often must lift heavy materials, climb ladders, and work in tight spaces. Some plumbers travel to a variety of worksites every day. A few work outdoors, even in bad weather.
Injuries and Illnesses
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Cuts from sharp tools, burns from hot pipes and soldering equipment, and falls from ladders are common injuries.
The vast majority of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work full time, including nights and weekends. They are often on call to handle emergencies, and overtime is common.
About 1 in 10 plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were self-employed in 2014. Although self-employed plumbers can set their own schedules, they are also more likely to deal with afterhours emergencies.