Technicians visit several homes each day. With the continued spread of the coronavirus growing daily, technicians have an increased risk of exposing themselves. Since the virus is extremely contagious, a technician must know how to properly take care of themselves and the homeowner while out on the job.
Daily Temperature Check
Before the start of each day, take the temperatures of each technician. This is a quick and easy way to identify the current health state of your technicians and send them home if needed. Also, this helps ensure the safety of the homeowner as well. It’s always a good idea to communicate the safety measures that your company is taking to reassure your customers that they’re safe. Before the job, let your customers know that the health of their technician is monitored and checked daily, so there’s less need to worry.
Customer Communication Before Arrival
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers beforehand if everyone in the house is healthy. This helps ensure that proper measures will be taken. Also, this is an excellent time to inform the customers on the safety procedures that will be taken for the job, such as wearing a mask, wearing gloves, wearing safety goggles, limiting contact, or the use of disinfectants.
Wear a Mask
If you are wearing a mask, it should be an N95. After each service call, be sure to dispose of the mask. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the only people who should wear a mask are those infected with COVID-19. Second, you should wear a mask if someone in the room you’re in is infected.
The CDC states that “close contacts of persons with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure,” which includes HVAC technicians.
Close contact is defined as:
- Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case
- Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)
Wear Protective Glasses
Virus particles are mainly transmitted through the nose and mouth.; however, these particles can also be transmitted through the eyes. Therefore, it’s also a good precaution to wear protective glasses along with a mask.
Gloves can help minimize contact with services that may have the virus. Remember to remove them safely from the bottom, dispose, and then wash your hands with an antibacterial (60% alcohol) for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends: “Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.”
Since the air filter is in frequent contact with the air inside the home, it’s a good idea to install a new one. High MERV filters are a good option, but you must test the duct and blower to make sure that the system can handle the pressure drop. The higher MERV filters have much smaller pores, allowing the filter to catch more pollutants; however, they also have higher resistance. Added resistance results in a bigger pressure drop. HEPA filters have a rating of 99.97% efficiency down to particles that are 0.3 microns; however, it can cause a reduction in airflow and create system problems.
It’s best to discuss with your customers about changing to a filter that will best suit their needs.
Wash Your Hands
You’ve probably heard this over and over, but it’s the most basic and effective step in prevention. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your customer for permission to wash your hands as you enter and leave their home.
Use Hand Sanitizer
This is a no-brainer. Sometimes, you can’t get to a bathroom to wash your hands. In this case, make sure you have hand sanitizer on you, and make sure that it’s alcohol content is at least 60%. Also, antibacterial hand wipes can come in handy as well. Same as hand sanitizer, they should have an alcohol content of at least 60%.
As a technician, continuing business can be hard during a virus; however, safety and health come first. If any technician does not feel healthy enough or safe serving customers during this time, they should not feel obligated to. Any technician who is healthy and can continue to serve customers should consider the precautions above to ensure the safety of their customers and themselves.
For more resources related to the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.