By Chuck White, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
PHCC—National Association has received numerous inquiries related to the current health crisis in America. While no one knows every detail related to this novel virus, the following are some suggested actions a contractor could use in their business. If in doubt, the local health authority would be a good resource to verify a business’s procedures.
In the event of a general lockdown of the citizens of the United States, plumbing and HVAC professionals may be considered essential services. If a business is in an area that has mandated the population to stay home, it would be best to contact the local health authority to ascertain a ruling on the worker’s status of being essential.
Suggested Business Procedures
When a business receives a call to a client facility, some screening questions could be asked:
- Is anyone in self-quarantine at the building?
- Has anyone in the building come back from international travel recently?
- Has anyone in the building had direct exposure to COVID-19?
- Are there any active cases of COVID-19 in the building?
Maintain a healthy workplace:
- Engage in social distancing
- Require self-quarantine for those with some risk exposure
- Require sick workers to stay home
- Maintain a clean environment, clean and disinfect surfaces
- Require use of appropriate PPE
- When on a jobsite, clean and disinfect surfaces to be worked on, use PPE that is justified for the risk exposure. Cleaning, disinfecting, and PPE information is available from the CDC Website.
- Understand the risk category of the work and use appropriate PPE as found starting on page 14 of OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
- Create a plan of action and communicate to employees
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol is an acceptable alternative.
- Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.
- Avoid touching facial areas with unwashed hands.
And, of course, follow all directives of Federal, state, or local authorities.
Remember, this is a rapidly evolving situation. Practices could change over the course of the next several weeks. Stay informed, be vigilant, and most of all, stay safe.
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs , PHCC-National Association