Working on-site? Here’s how to keep safe on the front line

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Victoria saw 74 new COVID-19 cases on 29 June. The last time the state saw that many cases was at the end of March. 

With the relaxation of restrictions, we were bound to see an increase in cases. And as travel and contact with clients are necessary for most tradies, it’s necessary to maintain strict hygiene practices.

In addition to the tips below, make sure that you know where your job site is and whether it’s in a COVID hotspot. You can keep up-to-date with country-wide information here and Victoria-specific info from Vic Gov.

We spoke to Mary-Louise McLaws, an infection control expert who advises the World Health Organisation. Mary-Louise had some extra advice for tradies.

When people practice proper hand hygiene, Mary-Louise says, their home should be their “germ-free bubble.” However, when you visit a job, you can’t guarantee your client has been following proper guidelines. The one thing you can do is be as hygienic as possible, washing your hands with soap and water frequently. Give them one last wash before you leave the job, and keep some sanitiser in the car.

Keeping up your own hand hygiene is essential. Soap and water, all the way up to the elbows.

Mary-Louise McLaws

You might need a mask too, but only if you’re doing something where water ‘aerosolizes’ — basically, becomes a spray or a mist. Mary-Louise says, “if you’re doing something where there could be a gush of fine particles, then you should wear a mask.” Plumbers or other tradies working with waste water, take note!

Check out our other simple tips for keeping you and your team safe on-site below.

1. Try a video quote.

Nothing beats an on-site quote. But jumping on a quick video chat can be almost as good. It reduces time spent in someone else’s space and time on the road. FaceTime is obviously available on iPhones and Skype is free and easy to download on Android. Worth a try!

2. Call ahead.

This might sound obvious, but it pays to give your client a call to let them know that you’re there. We’ve heard stories from tradies showing up at jobs and working for a few hours, only to be told someone in the house is suspected of having coronavirus. It’s worth a quick call to double-check nobody’s out of sorts.

3: Glove up before you get out.

This tip comes courtesy of Dave, a plumber from Sydney. He found that getting the gloves on before you’re out of the car shows your clients that you’re in control and being hygienic. It also stops that accidental handshake!

4. Keep your distance.

Keeping that space between you, your team and any clients around is still key. We know how easy it is to fall into old habits on-site, and it might take a bit of getting used to, so it’s worth restating—stay 1.5 metres from anyone else.

5. Careful of cash.

When it comes time to pay, cash can be a problem. Wash your hands or use some hand sanitiser after taking payment. Or even better, keep things contact-free with direct debits.

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