5 ways to operate safely during a national lockdown.
At Plentific, our priority is to make sure that the communities we support – and the residents, tradespeople and property managers within them – are kept safe during the pandemic.
We’ve adapted our platform and services to ensure repairs, maintenance and compliance works are carried out as efficiently and safely as possible during the current lockdown.
Working with contractors during the pandemic.
The latest government guidelines emphasise the importance of delivering repairs, maintenance and compliance work during the pandemic – but there are considerations to take into account. Here are 5 key changes we’ve put in place. We believe other service providers can follow the same best practice to ensure the highest level of safety for scheduled bookings:
1. Taking the necessary precautions.
We’ve created a COVID-19 checklist to help contractors understand how they should prepare and deliver scheduled jobs during the pandemic in order to keep everyone safe. Ahead of attending a booking, they will liaise directly with the resident(s) to understand the following:
- Has anyone residing in the home tested positive for coronavirus within the past 14-days?
- Is anyone within the home self-isolating, irrespective of testing positive for the virus?
- Is anyone within the home experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, such as a high temperature, persistent cough or fever?
If a tenant responds yes to any or all of the above, the contractor will be unable to attend a scheduled booking and the job should be marked as unattended by the operative for the reason of ‘COVID-19’ on our platform.
In these scenarios, the booking should be rearranged for a time when the period of illness or self-isolation has passed. It’s important to note that only emergency repairs can be carried out while a resident is self-isolating.
2. Attending a booking with care.
If a contractor is satisfied that no resident has been diagnosed with coronavirus, and they are not experiencing symptoms or self-isolating, then they may proceed with the scheduled booking to deliver the works.
However, before travelling to the booking, we encourage our operatives to call the resident one last time to ensure that the medical status of the resident remains unchanged since their initial screening. They will also liaise with the resident to understand if they are still happy for the operative to attend. As an added layer of caution to their work, we’ve encouraged operatives to
download the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app.
3. Know your contractor's obligations.
To ensure resident safety, all contractors should attend all scheduled bookings with the correct equipment to minimise the risk of transmission. We recommend sharing this information with your residents so that they are aware of what is expected during a contractor visit. The items include:
- Alcohol gel hand sanitiser or hand wipes
- A face mask Disposable paper towels (for wiping down surfaces)
- A universal disinfectant spray bottle
- Waste bags
- Yellow biological waste bags, if required
Along with the equipment listed above, all contractors should follow the golden rule: always wash hands with soap and water before entering a residents’ home, and again upon exiting to reduce the chance of contamination. It’s useful to provide residents with signage for their homes if they expect contractors to attend, as a simple reminder to anyone entering the home.
4. Be risk aware with self-isolating residents.
In instances when an emergency job has been booked at a property where one or more residents are self-isolating, there are further measures which both the operatives and residents should adhere to in order to reduce the risk of transmission.
- The resident must remain in a different room at all times or behind a closed door. Essential communication at this time can take place over the phone.
- If the job will last more than 30 minutes, the resident must take any essentials (food, water, medication) with them into the room they will be isolating in.
- If the resident is unable to cooperate with the above and clear access for the contractor to conduct the work, the contractor is entitled to raise the matter with the property manager or officer accordingly.
Additionally, to stay compliant with the relevant BS/EN standards (European technical standards as adopted in the UK), all contractors should ensure they wear the following before entering an infected or at-risk resident’s property. This is also known as your ‘Personal Protective Equipment’ (PPE): disposable overalls, disposable surgical gloves and safety glasses or goggles.
5. Protect your vulnerable, self-isolating residents.
It's important to note that contractors on our platform should not attend emergency appointments if the resident is self-isolating and is also classed as vulnerable – as defined by the government. Contractors should not attend a repair if:
- A resident within the home is 60 years of age or above.
- They have a long-standing medical condition (high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes).
- They have a weakened immune system (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, HIV or have recently undergone an organ or bone marrow transplant).
In these scenarios, it’s best to identify viable options with the resident.
Suggested ideas to support your residents directly.
We’ve come up with a few simple ideas to help ensure your residents are informed on the virus, and what they can do to protect themselves at all times.
- Provide hand sanitiser, masks and gloves where appropriate and to potentially at-risk residents.
- Offer advice through resident portals, flyers and emails.
- Roll out additional health and safety protocols as part of the property’s maintenance.
For more information on what Plentific are doing to respond to concerns of COVID-19, get in touch.
Not yet a Plentific client? Sign-up to Plentific this lockdown and we will waive the set-up fee (valid until 31 March 2021).