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Working in people’s homes as a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny 12/05/2020

The Government have also issued new advice for safe working in various settings during the current pandemic:

You are a tradesperson carrying out essential repairs and maintenance in people’s homes, or are carrying out other work in a home such as cleaning or paid-for childcare in a child’s home. You can continue work, providing that you are well and have no symptoms. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or when someone in their own household has symptoms.

Tradespeople should assess whether the visit is essential or if the work can be safely postponed. There may be alternatives to a visit, such as a phone or video call. If the visit cannot be postponed you should agree the procedures in advance.

During a visit

You should notify all clients in advance of your arrival. On entry to the home you should wash your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds. You should wash your hands regularly, particularly after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, and when leaving the property. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used, and you should carry this with you at all times.

If you are a tradesperson or cleaner, you should maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres) from any household occupants at all times, and ensure good ventilation in the area where you are working, including opening the window.

If someone in the household is extremely vulnerable or has coronavirus symptoms

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless your work is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repair, or if a young child’s parents must attend an emergency hospital appointment.

Tradespeople undertaking work that needs to go ahead in a household which is self-isolating or where an individual is being shielded should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the customer and themselves:

  • You should ask the householders to stay in a separate room while the work is carried out. If this is not possible, they should stay as far away from you as possible
  • Prior arrangements should be made with vulnerable people to avoid any face-to-face contact – for example, when answering the door
  • you should be particularly strict about hand washing and respiratory hygiene. Once the work is completed, you should tell the customer which surfaces and areas you have come in to contact with. However, you should carry out this cleaning yourself prior to leaving. Read the guidance on cleaning and waste here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or where someone in their household has symptoms.

Retail

You run a retail outlet which, in line with the government advice on retail, remains open.  To protect staff and customers, you should manage entry into the store, only allowing a limited number of people into your store at any given time.

You should put up signage to ask customers with symptoms not to enter the store, and to remind both staff and customers to always keep 2 metres from other people, wherever possible.

You should regularly encourage staff to wash their hands with soap and water as often as possible and for 20 seconds every time.

If feasible, you should also put up plexiglass barriers at all points of regular interaction to further reduce the risk of infection for all parties involved, cleaning the barriers regularly. You should still advise staff to keep 2 metres apart as much as possible.

To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

Construction

Construction work plays an important role in ensuring public safety and the provision of public services. It can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the site to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

If you decide the work should go ahead, you should advise staff to wash their hands frequently using soap and water for 20 seconds, and especially after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing, on arrival at work, before and after eating, after using public transport, and when they arrive home. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used.

You should still advise staff to keep 2 metres apart as much as possible.

You should plan work to minimise contact between workers and avoid skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact. Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.

As much as possible, keep groups of workers working together in teams that are as small as possible (cohorting). For example, you keep vehicle crews working together, rather than mixing crew members on different shifts.

Staff should also wash their hands each time before getting into enclosed machinery (such as diggers) with others, and wash their hands every time they get out. To help with this, you should consider adding additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.

Employees should keep the windows of enclosed machinery or enclosed spaces open for ventilation and be careful to avoid touching their face at all times. The inside of cabs should be regularly cleaned, particularly between use by different operators.

You should try to use stairs in preference to lifts or hoists. Where lifts or hoists must be used, you should lower their capacity to reduce congestion and contact at all times, and regularly clean touchpoints, such as doors and buttons.

To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

The Construction Leadership Council has published more detailed advice on how you might carry out government guidance.

Additional useful information for firms can be accessed on BuildUK’s website.

Manufacturing and processing businesses

Manufacturing plays an important role in the economy. It can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.

If you decide the work should continue, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face if possible.

You should increase the frequency of cleaning procedures, pausing production in the day if necessary for cleaning staff to wipe down workstations with disinfectant.

You should assign staff to the same shift teams to limit social interaction.

You should not allow staff to congregate in break times; you should consider arrangements such as staggered break times so that staff can continue to practice social distancing when taking breaks.

You should communicate to all staff that they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more at the beginning and end of every break, when they arrive at work and before they leave. To help with this, you should consider adding additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.

When entering and leaving, you should ensure your workforce stays 2 metres apart as much as possible. To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

Social distancing in the workplace - principles

Social distancing involves reducing day-to-day contact with other people as much as possible, in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer for England’s advice.

The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone and should be followed wherever possible. Workplaces need to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals wherever possible. This advice applies both to inside the workplace, and to where staff may need to interact with customers. Staff should be reminded to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds and particularly after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used. Workers should cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a bin and immediately wash their hands.

The practical implementation of this advice will depend on the local circumstances;

A few general indicators will be relevant to the majority of business settings:

  • make regular announcements to remind staff and/or customers to follow social distancing advice and wash their hands regularly
  • encourage the use of digital and remote transfers of material where possible rather than paper format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking
  • provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water, hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them
  • where it is possible to remain 2 metres apart, use floor markings to mark the distance, particularly in the most crowded areas (for example, where queues form)
  • where it is not possible to remain 2 metres apart, staff should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible
  • where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible
  • as much as possible, keep teams of workers together (cohorting), and keep teams as small as possible

Additionally, for customer-facing businesses:

  • use signage to direct movement into lanes, if feasible, while maintaining a 2 metre distance
  • regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
  • use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms
  • if feasible, place plexiglass barriers at points of regular interaction as an additional element of protection for workers and customers (where customers might touch or lean against these, ensure they are cleaned and disinfected as often as is feasible in line with standard cleaning procedures)

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