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Covid-19 guidance for installers

An LPG engineer in a Calor vehicle, looking out of the window with a flask
The shift in day-to-day operations resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been a challenging one for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe, including Gas Safe Engineers.
So how can you stay safe in these uncertain times? Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, which states that “anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work”, many installers are left wondering how they can start to go back to work whilst operating safely with colleagues and within their customer’s home. Here, we’ve collated the latest guidance from the Government to help LPG Gas Engineers to stay safe.

General guidelines 
The current guidelines suggest that work carried out in occupied and unoccupied properties can continue in accordance with government advice and must be subject to symptom-free circumstances, including the stringent use of PPE, thorough hygiene protocol and social distancing measures.

Whilst it’s encouraging that we’re now moving into more of a bounce-back phase, it’s vital not to become complacent when it comes to hygiene protocol. If we fail to put safety first, resulting in a second wave of infection, even stricter controls will be introduced by the government in order to lessen the inevitable social and economic impact.

Guidelines on travel

It’s not always possible to maintain social distancing within transport and if you would normally share a van for LPG boiler installation, servicing or repairs purposes, you should consider working alone until further notice as per government guidelines. Or, if this is not possible, try travelling to a job in separate vehicles to minimise close contact with colleagues and maintain social distancing.

The government recommends minimising working face-to-face, however, they realise this isn’t always possible. In those instances where more than one person is needed to complete a job, the Government recommends reducing the number of people in a team that you work with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so that each person only works with the same few other people) to help minimise the risk of spreading the virus. If that isn’t possible, an alternative is to stagger arrival and departure times between colleagues in order to maintain safety standards and reduce crowding.

Other suggestions include keeping the job as short as possible and working back-to-back or side-to-side, rather than face-to-face, wherever possible. If you find that you do need to work closely with a colleague consider investing in PPE gear, such as a face mask.

It is not an obligation for any employee to undertake work that requires face-to-face contact in a household that is deemed unsafe, so all projects must be assessed on a case-by case basis to ensure the safety of all involved.

Health and safety for the protection of everyone
While work carried out in people’s homes can continue, it’s vital that you’re healthy and have no symptoms of the virus – even mild ones. 

In order to guarantee the safety of both yourself and your customer, work should only be carried out in a household which is not self-isolating or at risk of contracting coronavirus, unless it is to fix a direct risk to the safety of the home, such as emergency repairs and the customer consents to you carrying out such work.

Following increasing pressure from the heating industry, the government has now confirmed workers ‘delivering essential services in the utilities sector’ are now eligible for coronavirus testing. So if you feel you could be at risk, you should absolutely take advantage of this initiative.

Social distancing
Stringent safety standards must be met to ensure the safety of everyone. This includes practising social distancing, stopping any form of direct contact and not passing customers hand-held devices or other paperwork for signing. In addition, consider taking personal drinks and flasks rather than accepting anything from the customer to help minimise any risks here.

Installers should also wear gloves and wash hands in soap and hot water, as well as using hand sanitizer frequently. In addition, wipe down all surfaces that may have been touched within a customer’s home – even if it’s a case of simply placing down a tool.

Also, wherever possible we recommend seeking alternative routes, and only visit a household if absolutely necessary. For instance, can you diagnose and solve a non-emergency issue, such as repressurising a boiler or bleeding radiators, remotely via a video call?

While the advice is to go back to work if possible, it’s important to remain vigilant and stick to the government’s safety processes in order to protect both yourself and your customers.

For more advice and support for Gas Engineers on COVID-19, please visit the official government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Alternatively, visit Gas Safe Register for continuous updates on the situation https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/.