For electrical apprentices across Australia (and around the world), 2020 has certainly presented its fair share of challenges. Whether you’re in your first year trying to get your head around the basics, or your fourth year ready to become a fully qualified A-grade, working and learning within the current rules is not always easy.
While trade school might be on hold or being conducted remotely at the moment, many apprentices are still attending residential and commercial worksites daily as part of their job – and with COVID-19 still active in the community, working onsite can be stressful. But the good news is, that there are some simple things you can do that will minimise the risk and help to stop the spread.
So in today’s article, we thought we’d share 10 commonsense tips based on the guidelines from Energy Safe Victoria for electricians and their apprentices, to help you stay COVID-safe on the job.
1) Don’t go to work sick
While you’ve surely heard this before, it is so important it has to top the list. If you feel unwell, or have any symptoms, don’t go to work under any circumstances. Go and get tested instead.
2) Ask 5 important questions
Before you enter the home or workplace of a customer, take a moment to explain the precautionary measures you are taking in light of the pandemic. You should also ask them whether they, or anyone in their household:
- is self-isolating
- has tested positive for COVID-19
- feels unwell or has any cold or flu-like symptoms
- has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed
- has returned from overseas recently and is under quarantine orders.
3) Completing work for anyone who has been exposed
If your customer answers yes to any of the above, you should only enter the premises for emergency or urgent repairs. If the work can be safely completed at a later date, it must be deferred. If you do complete the work, you should also take the following additional precautions to ensure your safety:
- let your customer know that additional safety precautions are required
- wear full PPE (disposable P2 facemask, full coveralls, gloves)
- if working inside, ask the customer to move to another room
- if working outside, advise the customer to stay indoors
- only have the customer show you what needs to be done if necessary
- if you need clarification on anything, keep the conversation brief
- complete the job as quickly as possible
- once done, advise the customer and leave, they don’t need to sign anything
- place all your disposable PPE in a garbage bag (of your own) and throw it in a bin (not the customer’s).
4) Cover your face
At the time of writing, face coverings are mandatory for all Victorians when leaving their home. It’s a good idea to pack one with your work gear the night before, so you don’t forget one in the morning rush. You should also keep a couple of extras on hand in your car, workbag or toolbox, so you don’t get caught short.
5) Keep your distance
This is another very obvious one, but it’s so important. Follow the physical distancing directions and keep a 1.5m space between yourself and your customer at all times. Don’t be afraid to ask them to exit the room while you complete the work if you feel you can’t maintain a safe distance while they are present.
6) Wash and sanitise your hands
Be sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day – under running water with soap for at least 20 seconds – and dry them with paper towel or a hand dryer. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you at all times, using it as needed through the day. The sanitiser must be made up with 60–80% alcohol to be effective, so check the ingredients on the label before you buy.
7) Limit what you touch
Be mindful of what you touch, especially door handles, benches and other shared surfaces. If you need to touch them to carry out your work, you may consider wearing gloves to avoid using your bare hands.
8) Minimise interactions
Where possible, keep interactions with others to the absolute minimum – unfortunately, lengthy chats with your customer about your favourite footy team or the weather are not appropriate right now. If you do need to discuss something about the job, be sure to maintain physical distancing and keep the conversation brief.
9) Don’t touch your face
You should also avoid touching your face while you’re outside your home. This is a really important preventative measure so try not to forget!
10) Use contactless payment
If you need to take payment for the work you’ve completed on the day, always encourage your customers to use contactless payment where possible.
Safety Must Always Come First
While it’s true that we are all tiring of the endless hand-washing and physical distancing, being consistent and diligent with COVID safe measures is an absolute must. Take responsibility for your actions, and if you see anything that doesn’t seem right, raise it with your boss. If we keep it up, hopefully we’ll see an easing of the restrictions (and see you back at trade school) sooner.
If you’d like to talk to our team about upcoming courses or the current situation for electrical apprentices, get in touch today.