what precautions should tradespeople take when working in homes

There certainly is a light at the end of the tunnel now that we're taking steps towards the end of lockdown. That being said, it's important that tradespeople entering our homes are still following guidelines and working safely to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

Things have a tendency to stop working at the most inconvenient times, and without tradespeople, there would've been a lot of homeowners without electricity, hot water, and other amenities during the pandemic. 

It's really important that tradespeople can continue to enter our homes to do repairs and maintenance, but until the spread of coronavirus drops dramatically, we all need to remain cautious. Today, we're going to highlight some of the precautions that tradespeople should take when they're working in someone's home.

Should tradespeople wear a face covering while working?

Over the past year, we've all become accustomed to wearing face coverings in shops and enclosed public spaces. This is because face masks reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

Tradespeople entering your home should be wearing a face mask. If they're not wearing a face mask, you are well within your rights to request that they put one on. Ideally, tradespeople should come prepared with the following coronavirus PPE:

  • A suitable face covering
  • Gloves (or hand sanitiser)
  • Shoe covers

All of these things will not only protect the homeowner, should the tradesperson unknowingly have coronavirus, but will also keep the tradesperson safe as they move from one job to the next. 

Should I offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was courtesy to offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee, especially if they were going to be working in our homes for a long time.  However, it's important that you take precautions when tradespeople are in your home, so to reduce physical contact you might decide not to offer a tea or coffee.

This is absolutely fine and generally expected. Tradespeople understand that precautions are in place, and will more than likely have a flask or tea of coffee in their van for lunchtime. 

Should I clean the work area before & after a tradesperson visits my house?

During the pandemic, tradespeople are expected to do a certain level of cleaning while they're on the job. Surfaces that are touched in your home should be cleaned down by the tradespeople as they complete the job. 

That being said, it's completely understandable if you're more comfortable cleaning the work area before and after their visit yourself. Not only will it make the tradesperson feel more comfortable, but it will also give you peace of mind that the risk has been minimised. 

Should I vacate the work area while the tradespeople are in my home?

Removing yourself completely from the work area is a good way to reduce the risk of transmission. It will also make the tradespeople feel comfortable and give them the space they need to get the job done quickly. 

Some of us are, however, working from home at the moment, so it might not be easy to avoid the work area completely. In circumstances where you need to access the same space as the tradespeople, it's recommended that you keep two metres away and limit contact as much as possible. If it's not too much hassle, the tradespeople may be able to step outside for a moment while you make your lunch or brush your teeth! 

Final thoughts...

Most tradespeople (self-employed or not) will be used to working with strict coronavirus precautions in place, so you shouldn't need to worry about having work done in your home during this time. 

It's vital that you keep a good line of communication open so that everyone is comfortable with the working situation. Don't be afraid to speak up if something doesn't sit right with you. We're all entitled to be extra-precautious to keep our colleagues and families safe.

By working together and communicating openly, tradespeople can continue to visit our homes and work effectively while minimising risk.

Are you a tradesperson looking for high-quality ladders & scaffolding to help you work during the coronavirus pandemic? Sign up for a trade account for huge discounts! 

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covid-19 testing for tradespeople

A recent announcement from the government means that rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will be rolled out across all local authorities for tradespeople and key workers who cannot work from home. This is great news for tradespeople who, up until now, could have been transmitting the virus around the homes that they visited for work without even knowing.

So far, 131 local authorities have signed up to the scheme, but the government plans to rapidly expand it so that rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 tests will be available to tradespeople across the entire country.

NHS track and trace are also working closely with the government to improve workforce testing. So far, 27,000 rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 tests have been carried out for public sector workers.

What are the benefits of testing asymptomatic people?

Current evidence suggests that 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 don't have any symptoms. This means there are thousands of people living and working among us, who don't even know that they have the virus. 

The government's new plan to make rapid testing available to tradespeople and other workers that interact with the public on a daily basis aims to curb the spread of the virus. Tradespeople who test positive for the virus (despite showing no symptoms) will be asked to self-isolate. 

While this may seem inconvenient if you're a self-employed tradesperson, it certainly is a step in the right direction in terms of protecting people in the homes you're visiting and making sure that the country's vital services can continue to operate safely. So far, asymptomatic tests have helped to identify almost 15,000 people who would never have known that they had the virus.

How do I arrange a rapid COVID-19 test?

The government haven't yet released a list of rapid COVID-19 test centres because the system is still in its early stages. That being said, if you're a tradesperson who's interested in having a rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 test, you should contact your local authority to find out where they're being carried out in your local area. They can advise you on how to book the test and where to go for it.

How does the rapid COVID-19 test work?

First, a swab is taken from your nostrils or the back of your throat. This part is similar to a standard COVID-19 test. Next, your sample is mixed with a solution and a drip is added to the test's sample well. 

The test takes 30 minutes to develop, then you should see your results as either positive, negative or inconclusive. If your test is inconclusive, you may be asked to book another one.

This new system of rapid testing is guaranteed to make working life safer for tradespeople, and we're hopeful that this will give you all a bit of normality back.

Give us a call if you're heading back to work and need to update your toolkit with a new ladder. We have some great trade discounts available if you apply for one of our trade accounts.

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Read More: Can Tradespeople Work During Lockdown?

can tradespeople work during lockdown?

Over the last few weeks, we have seen most of the UK go into national lockdowns for the third time. No one is 100% sure when these lockdown restrictions will end this time, and as with all things COVID-19 related, we've got questions.

Can tradespeople work in other people's homes during a lockdown? What precautions should you take if you are working during the lockdown? And what questions can you expect from homeowners before you arrive on-site?

Today we're going to try and demystify some of these questions so that you know what you can do and how to approach the situation safely.

More...