Now that the COVID-19 alert levels have changed again, it’s time for a few reminders about how you need to operate as a tradie. You’ve probably got it all under control and are using the processes you set up last time, but there might be a couple of things you’ve forgotten. So here’s the info again for you!
If you’re in Auckland at Alert Level 3
We’ve all got our fingers crossed that this lockdown will only be until midnight Wednesday, but if it does go on longer, you’re going to want to keep the below in mind.
Before arriving on site
You’ll need to have a plan in place to mitigate any risks related to COVID-19 and do a re-induction to the site so everyone knows this plan.
Make sure that none of your team returning to work are sick, are immune-compromised, or over 70 years old, and they’ll need to work with some degree of separation (ideally 2 metres apart).
Your site will need to have clear entry and exit points and have signage and/or fencing to stop members of the public accessing it – all non-essential visitors can’t enter the site.
Your site needs to be set up with:
- A sign in register at entry so essential visitors can enter in their name, full contact details, time in, and a declaration that they’re healthy.
- All people accessing your site need to sign in and sign out at each visit, including delivery companies and clients, and they need to maintain at least 2m physical distancing and encouraged not to touch anything on site unless necessary
- Wash stations equipped with antibacterial soap or hand sanitiser
- Any PPE required for the work undertaken
- Signage installed (check out our mates at The Sign Studio) throughout the site outlining COVID-19 controls
Don’t share tools – if they need to be shared, make sure they’re being disinfected properly before passing to the next person.
Make sure that high touch areas such as door handles, sign in stations, etc. are thoroughly cleaned regularly.
You’ll need to have a plan in place for receiving deliveries. The delivery person will need to sign in and out and know where and how they can deliver safely on your site.
Leaving the site
You need to make sure everyone signs out, washes their hands and uses hand sanitiser before they leave the site.
Anyone leaving the site should also include where they’re heading to next to assist with contact tracing in the event of a suspected COVID-19 case.
If any of your team or any visitors are suspected of having contracted COVID-19 or have been in contact with a suspected case, this needs to be reported immediately to their contracting company and to the site owner.
If this occurs, the site must be shut down for a minimum of 3 days (unless COVID-19 test is confirmed negative or the Ministry of Health advises) while an investigation takes place. You’ll also need to notify the Ministry of Health and begin contact tracing (identifying all sites the person in question has accessed), as well as conducting a full sanitising clean.
You can find out more info and updates here.
If you’re in the rest of the country at Alert Level 2
From what we’ve seen, there isn’t too much of a difference for tradies between Levels 2 and 3 in terms of distancing and hygiene, but here’s what we do know.
This is pretty important everywhere you go during Level 2, and not just on site. It’s been recommended that workers stay 2 metres away from those outside their work bubble and 1 metre minimum from all other workers unless absolutely necessary.
Team sizes should be kept as small as possible and a record should be kept of who is in each team so that contact tracing can be done properly and easily if need be. It might be a good idea for the various teams on site to work in different shifts to avoid too much mingling and potential exposure. On site, it also might be good to have a one-way system or a limited number of people at a time in certain areas such as lifts and stairwells.
You’ll still need to keep a record of anyone who is on site to help with contact tracing, and washing your hands before entering the site is still required. Non-essential people are able to enter the site in Level 2, they’ll just need to sign in and abide by all of the protocols in place.
You’ll need to keep an eye on all site access points so you know who is coming in and when, and so that you can space people out accordingly. You might need to change the number of access points to help you monitor all entries. You should also try to have only one person recording any sign-ins to minimise contact with equipment such as screens or pens.
It’s fine to leave the site to grab some lunch, but make sure you’re following all of the exit and entry procedures on site when you do, including washing your hands before entering.
If there isn’t already, it’s a good idea to set up some dedicated eating areas and stagger break times to avoid any risks and keep control of the distancing and hygiene protocols. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but make sure you’re cleaning your hands properly before and after eating, and disinfect any kitchen tools you use. You’ll still need to sit about 1 metre apart from each other, and don’t share your sandwich with your mates…
All rubbish should also be disposed of properly, and all eating areas cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Cleaning tools and equipment
This one’s the same as at Level 3 and will probably be pretty important going forward, even once we’re back to normal. It’s important that you clean all of your tools and equipment before and after each work day. You should be washing your hands after handling all tools and equipment to help minimise the spread of any germs, and as you know, don’t share tools unless you absolutely have to – if you do, make sure these are thoroughly cleaned after each use.
Stopping the spread from work to home
You might be doing all the right things on site, but the last thing you want is for anyone at home to be picking up any germs that you might be carrying on your clothes or tools.
When you get home, avoid touching anything or anyone until you’ve cleaned everything properly, including your clothes and bags. Leave your shoes outside, and leave all non-essential items that you don’t need at work. Have a shower and be vigilant about cleaning any areas that might have been exposed like your hand, neck and nails.
Stay safe everyone!