Whether it’s regional lockdowns, devolved governments mixed messaging or simply an overload of Coronavirus related information generally, it’s clear that tradespeople may be confused about what they can and can’t do when it comes to working in other people’s homes.
Advice from The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation is clear and in addition to the guidance provided by UK government, should be adopted, not only to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spread, but also to reduce the risk of future litigation in what are clearly unprecedented times.
Local lockdowns are becoming more common as we fight the spread of this virus. There is no national requirement for home improvement to stop during lockdowns, however advice should be sought from the local authority if there is a lockdown affecting the project. There are restrictions on movement during lockdowns, so checking with the local authority before travelling is advised.
Common sense should be the starting point for all of us generally. Careful consideration on whether we should be doing something, or whether there’s a better, safer way must be first on the list of actions each day. The risk of contracting the virus increases when touch points and movement is initiated, so by reducing touch points and movement, you’re also reducing the risk.
Symptoms are not always present with COVID-19, but when they are the rule is to simply stop. If tradespeople, their contractors, customers or anyones householders are experiencing symptoms, then work should not start or continue and isolation should commence from that point, without exception. The NHS website is a good reference. It is advised that tradespeople confirm all parties are symptom free before leaving home each day. A call into the customer would be best.
Risk Assessments are mandatory and should be completed or at least reviewed for each project. Details of the requirements, including templates can be found on the UK Government website, with links to all country variations. Generally, the requirement is that only businesses that employ the services of more than 5 people need a written risk assessment, however our advice would be for all businesses, regardless of size, complete an assessment for each project.
Site cleanliness is critical. The disinfecting of surfaces and tools will reduce the risk of covid contraction. Ensure the site is regularly cleared, before, during and after work. Don’t cut corners or become complacent with site cleaning and don’t assume someone else has done the job.
Face coverings should be worn when social distancing is impossible. Whether that’s lifting product into homes, cutting or hanging units, ensure face coverings are worn.
Social distancing is an obvious one. The closer you get to people, the higher the risk of virus transmission. Request that customers keep away during renovation and that tech is used to communicate, even if they’re in the same house. Stagger trades into the home, minimising the number of workers on site at any given time.
Increase ventilation by keeping external doors and windows open (even during winer months). The science confirms that a well ventilated space reduces risk of spread. Make sure that internal doors are closed and sealed as not to affect the rest of the home.
Track and trace is being used throughout the UK in workplaces, so we recommend that tradespeople use the system in each site. Tradespeople can generate a free QR code via the government website and occupants / visitors can download the NHS App and check in each time the home is visited.
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