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You will be going into someone’s house. There are two massively important concerns:
- you really really don’t want to catch the infection from the occupants or the house and
- you really don’t want to give the infection to the occupants or the house
There is one over-riding point to keep in mind with all this: a person can have COVID-19 and not be showing any symptoms and at the same time be infecting other people. That means you might have it without knowing or one of the tenants might have it without knowing.
So we have these precautions to protect all of us.
Things you should do to avoid catching the infection
This section is our attempt to show what we think should work. We make no guarantee that this is sufficient to protect you. You must follow your own counsel.
When we book a job, or you book it, we ask the tenants to confirm their status – self-diagnosed, vulnerable or just self-isolating.
They are told that when you visit to fix something they have to confirm their status again to you and that you might request them to do any or all of:
- leaving the house completely while the tradesperson is in
- not being in the same room as the tradesperson
- not going within 2m or 6ft of the tradesperson
- no personal contact or shaking hands with the tradesperson
- opening all the doors and windows before the tradesperson comes in in order to air the house thoroughly
- having a supply of soap and running water for the tradesperson to wash their hands
- not sneezing or coughing into the open air while the tradesperson is in the house
- clearing away all household objects obstructing the area being worked on
- keep all pets out of the house at all times
- follow our code of COVID-19 hygiene
There are at least two ways to catch the infection – the air and surfaces. On some surfaces the virus can survive for several days. For this reason you may want to consider disposable plastic leggings or gauntlets if the job might involve leaning against walls or kneeling on the floor. This is especially important while dealing with sanitaryware.
You should also consider spraying disinfectant on any surfaces in the area you are working on.
You will have to arrange all your own precautions following your trade or industry guidelines but without over-thinking it you really should have:
- hand sanitiser or soap and water available for every visit and
- almost certainly disposable gloves
- consider disposable plastic boot protectors and
- possibly disposable leggings and gauntlets
- having a supply of disinfectant for your work areas and tools.
When you enter you might also wish to provide the occupants with your COVID-19 code and insist they abide by it while you are on site. Especially keeping 2m or 6ft away. You can develop your own or if you wish you can use ours here. Some households have very limited English so if you can develop one with simple pictograms of keeping distance or out of the room or house that would be good. Here’s one shamelessly pinched off Twitter:
When you leave the property you should securely bag up disposable gloves and boot protectors, hand sanitise and, ideally, disinfect your tools.
In presenting all these precautions and requirements to the tenants they may well say
"There is nothing wrong with us!" Your reply is easy: "Ah but there might be something wrong with me and I just don't know it yet."
How to avoid infecting the tenants
Of course you need to know what your situation is – are you supposed to be self isolating because someone in your household has self-diagnosed in the last 14 days or tested positive? Are you suffering from the signs of the virus? If so, you mustn’t be out working on this job.
You should wear a fresh pair of disposable gloves and hand sanitise before entering the property. You should follow the code rules – no coughing or sneezing into the air – use the crook of your elbow. And no closer than 6ft or 2m to any other person.
Most of the precautions listed above will also stop you from infecting the tenants if you have already got COVID-19 but are not yet showing symptoms. Again, that is a point worth emphasising if the tenants complain about clearing out of the house or whatever.