A new guide will be helpful for businesses like MSE that are going into people’s homes to complete essential work
 
Work Safe, Safe Work’ provides three-part guidance about what to do before, while and after contractors like us visit. 
 
The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has worked with TrustMark and the Construction Leadership Council to create the guide. Here’s a summary: 

What to do before a contractor visits 

You can ask a contractor to complete essential work if nobody living in your home has symptoms or is isolating as a precaution. If anyone has been unwell you should all have been free from symptoms for 14 days. The NHS has useful advice on this. 
 
If you are at higher risk of infection or harm, tell your contractor so they can take extra care. 
 
You should talk to them about the work that needs to be done, access to your property and working conditions. You can keep face-to-face contact to a minimum by using your smart phone, laptop or tablet device with a camera to have conversations online. 
 
To be on the safe side, check what personal protection equipment (PPE) your contractor will use, such as gloves and masks. 
 
Some things don’t change, so remember to agree what needs to be done and the price in writing before going ahead. 
 

When your contractor is on site 

As a precaution, even if your contractor is wearing a mask and gloves, disinfect doorsand handles before and after they come into your home. 
 
Follow social distancing throughout their visit. If you must be closer the two metres, stay side-to-side rather than facing each other. 
 
If you offer your contractor any refreshment during their visit and they accept, touch glasses and cups as little as possible and wash them straight away afterwards with hot, soapy water. 
 
If your project is likely to take several days to complete and anyone at your property starts to feel unwell, let you contractor know and stop all work as soon as it is safe to do so. 
 

After your work is complete 

After your contractor leaves, disinfect all the places they have worked, especially around doors and handles. 
 
Wherever possible use electronic paperwork and contactless payment methods. 
 
If anyone in your home has symptoms within a week of the work being completed, let you contractor know as a precaution. 
 

In the background… 

That’s not all that needs to be done. To make sure it’s possible to work safely there’s quite a lot to be done in the background. 
 
If two metre social distancing isn’t always possible, the time spent working more closely should be kept to a minimum. Strict hand sanitising routines and extra care to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and dispose of them safely are needed. Sickness monitoring and reporting also needs to be prioritised. 
 
We know that PPE is only part of the answer, so members of staff will still need to work from home where possible. Where more than one person is needed for a project, they will ideally travel and work as fixed teams or partners. As far as possible the same individuals and teams will use their own allocated equipment and tools. 
 
Vehicles and equipment must be regularly cleaned using gloves and standard cleaning products, with special attention being given to handles and other surfaces that might be touched frequently. 
 
In fact, all these good practices are reasonable in any conditions, so let’s hope they continue when the coronavirus outbreak finally ends. 
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