In 2019, a novel coronavirus outbreak occurred in Wuhan, China. The coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has since spread across the world and has been identified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). This article is intended to be a resource for workers such as plumbers, electricians, and residential construction workers to better protect themselves from becoming infected. Additionally, this article outlines general methods that everyone can use to keep themselves safe during the ongoing health crisis.
The name “coronavirus” refers to the microscopic, crownlike appearance of the virus’ “crown” of protein-based protrusions. Common in animal species, some coronaviruses infect humans through a process known as cross-species transmission which is thought to be the origin of the current COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 virus has proven to be highly transmissible and typically causes respiratory illness and, in some cases, death.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to shut down to prevent further infections, resulting in many job losses. Some jobs can be done remotely, but most repair work involves close contact with potentially contaminated individuals and environments.
In particular, the pandemic has enormous implications for those working in the plumbing industry. An outbreak in a Hong Kong high-rise has drawn scrutiny from health officials as potential evidence of COVID-19 spreading through sewage systems. If true, this would mean that workers involved in sanitation repairs are particularly at risk for contracting the virus.
For this reason, all sanitary drainage workers should assume that the virus is present in their work environment. To avoid potential contamination from contact with contaminated water or aerosols in sanitary systems or sewers, plumbers should wear personal protective equipment. This includes gloves and a face shield worn over safety goggles or glasses.
Johnny Peters plumbing expert in Phoenix Arizona has worked in the plumbing industry for years and have gained unique insights into the best protective products and techniques you can use to help reduce your chances of contracting the virus.
In order to protect yourself, call your customers ahead of time to make sure they are not sick and consult with a supervisor to check if the work absolutely must be done. Do not be afraid to ask direct questions about a customer’s health. Open and honest health discussions are essential if we want to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Try to postpone or refuse jobs that would put you in close contact with a customer.
If your job mandates working inside someone’s home and cannot be postponed, speak to the customer in advance about safety precautions. Make sure to remind them to keep at least 6 feet away from you and ask if you can use their bathroom for washing your hands.
If you arrive and the customer is showing symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing or sneezing, it would be best to attempt to ask them if the work can be done at a later date. Contact your supervisor and update them on the situation.
Direct contact with the moist droplets from a sick individual’s cough or sneeze is a primary cause of transmission. Workers should ask customers to keep at least 6 feet away and should avoid shaking hands to avoid risking direct transmission. Expelled droplets from coughs and sneezes that contain the virus travel through the air and land on surfaces. Accidentally touching these droplets and then touching your face can cause infection.
Social distancing is the best way to avoid these particles, so, once again, it is important to remember to postpone work that must be done in close proximity to another individual.
Current research suggests that virus particles can last for hours on hard, smooth surfaces like metal or plastic, so workers should avoid touching surfaces inside a customer’s house whenever possible.
However, plumbing and other types of repair work usually require touching of surfaces, so simply do your best to quickly complete the job. Remember not to touch your face while you are working, and make sure to always wash your hands after every job.
Some studies have shown that the virus has a shorter life span on fabrics, so workers should not worry about washing their clothes after every job unless they were directly coughed or sneezed on. Experts have stated that the fibers in fabrics break apart virus particles and dry them out, rendering the particles inactive. It should be remembered that only moist particles can cause infection.
If coughed on, workers should change out of the potentially contaminated clothing as soon as possible and should launder it immediately.
Masks are unnecessary if you are healthy, and they should primarily be worn by sick individuals to prevent the spread of virus particles when they cough or sneeze. Currently, there is a shortage of masks, so you should leave them for healthcare professionals and medical workers who need masks when caring for patients.
Sick workers should self-quarantine at home to prevent the virus from spreading to coworkers and customers. Additionally, businesses should off-site as much work as possible to prevent workplace outbreaks. To minimize contact with customers, job details should be discussed over the phone or through text and payments should be collected remotely.
Delivery workers are particularly at risk as they come into contact with many different individuals, items, and environments throughout their workday. These workers should leave packages outside doors and avoid any kind of contact with the customer. Shared delivery vehicles should be wiped down before use and extra care should be given when wiping commonly touched surfaces like the steering wheel, shifter, stereo, seatbelt, armrests, and seat.
At The Plumber Inc, we understand of protecting our workers and our customers. We do important work that usually cannot be accomplished remotely, so it is of particular importance that we follow the safety protocols laid out in this article to keep ourselves and our customers safe.
Visit the link below for more information on COVID-19 and on additional methods for protecting yourself, your friends and family, and your coworkers. Knowledge of the safety measures you can implement will be an essential part of reducing the overall impact of COVID-19.