Plumbers Navigate New Challenges During Pandemic
In every state, plumbers are considered an essential trade that keeps society moving. While many workers are out of a job and sheltered at home, plumbers are still active and helping homeowners and businesses stay up and running.
As states and businesses navigate a new normal in the age of COVID-19, trades groups like the United Association of Maryland have rolled out extensive guidelines to keep plumbers safe on the job.
Spread through Drain and Vent Systems
The group advises that the coronavirus can spread through sanitary drain and vent systems. The group says an outbreak was identified in a high-rise building in Hong Kong after a sanitary drain and vent system were altered to open up connections through the building. Numerous people in the 30-story facility were later diagnosed with the virus.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment is strongly advised while plumbers and pipefitters are on the job. The UA recommends a full face shield worn over safety goggles, gloves and protective clothing
“Assume that everything inside that system is contagious. [There is] the potential to come into contact with water and aerosols that contain the coronavirus when working on sanitary systems or sewers,” their guide says.
For workers handling human waste or sewage, they recommend goggles, full-face shields, liquid-repellant coveralls, rubber outer gloves with nitrile inner gloves, and finish off the look with rubber boots.
Taking off the equipment is just as important as putting it on. When the job’s over, take off the suit carefully by rolling inside out. Do the same with the gloves.
“Wash hands, arms and face in that order with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after removing PPE,”
Avoid sharing your tools with your coworker. Clean your tools often with an EPA approved agent to disinfect. If you cannot find any, use a 1:10 bleach water mix or use soap and water.
Finally, it’s paramount to socially distance. Maintain six feet between coworkers and homeowners. To the maximum extent, try to communicate with customers by telephone or email before and after a call to avoid catching or spreading something. If you can bill them digitally, that will avoid the use of a shared pen and paper.
You can read the full report here: https://uanet.org/pdf/GuidelinesWorkerHealthPlumbingHVACSystemsCOVID-19.pdf
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