During the pandemic, the HSE’s advice has been to prevent the spread of COVID in the workplace, but for many self-employed trade professionals, your workplace is where the job takes you.
In this post, we provide an overview of HSE guidelines and general best practices on how to keep yourself, sub-contractors, employees and your clients safe while COVID is circulating in the community.
How COVID Spreads
The virus that causes COVID is spread through exposure to very small respiratory liquid particles released in the exhaled breath of an infectious individual.
There are several factors that can reduce the transmission of COVID. These include social distancing, vaccination, good cough and respiratory etiquette, meticulous hand hygiene, wearing a face mask/covering and ensuring adequate ventilation.
Reduce In-Person Contact
It is always important to keep in contact with your customer during a job, but during COVID you do need to avoid in-person contact as much as possible.
You can cut down the number of visits to a customer, by having a phone or video calls instead.
Our Video Survey feature is a great help when initiating contact with potential clients and getting the ball rolling. It’s also especially handy to discuss COVID practices before any site surveys or onsite activity is required.
Create a Covid Safe Working Environment
Before landing in someone’s home, let them know what COVID actions you’ll be taking and have the necessary equipment and PPE available to reduce risk.
- Maintain a social distance of at least 2 meters from others
- Wear face masks both inside and outside and request that your clients do so too.
- Create ventilation of the working environment such as opening windows, doors vent and the use of fans to increase airflow.
- Bring your own drinks, food, cups, kettle etc. and have breaks outside, when possible.
- Sanitise hands regularly using soap and water, but if not available then use hand sanitisers or sanitising wipes.
- Clean objects and surfaces that you or other people touch
Before you arrive, you should agree with your client on how to go about your work safely.
- Ask your client if there are any extra precautions beyond what you have discussed especially if there are vulnerable people or small children in the home.
- If reasonable, discuss with your client the possibility of them clearing the working area or moving any furniture etc. before your arrival.
- Check that your client does not have symptoms of COVID, colds or flu and do not progress with your onsite visit if are showing any symptoms yourself.
Advising your clients about what actions you are taking to protect them and yourself from COVID is not only good public health policy – but will also help prevent any project delays due to illness and keep you earning.
Guaranteed Payments - Our TradeyPay Escrow service is the perfect solution to arrange electronic payments with your client securely and safely. Simply agree on the details of the project with your customer and start the transaction on our platform. The customer pays all transaction fees - meaning you collect 100% of the payment. Learn more here.
COVID Safe Practices When More Than One Trade Is Onsite
If there is more than one person working on the job, you need to have clear COVID guidelines in place.
- Mandate facemasks onsite always.
- Limit the number of tradespeople working within a confined space.
- Create working bubbles for projects that require more than one person and make sure the same tradespeople are allocated to a household or task.
- Don’t share tools or equipment. If tools need to be shared, they should be sanitised each time.
- Stagger work breaks to maintain social distancing requirements.
- Where possible, all trades working on-site should avoid public transport or carpools.
- Ask your team members to self-isolate and to book a free PCR test with HSE, if symptomatic. The HSE will then perform the necessary contract tracing.
- Where possible, reduce numerous third party deliveries by bulk ordering.
- When working with sub-contractors make them aware of the COVID practices required onsite before they arrive.
In instances where an employee, homeowner, sub-contractor or other becomes symptomatic while onsite follow this HSE guidance for the management of suspected COVID cases.
As per HSE guidelines, when a case of COVID-19 is identified the person will be advised to self-isolate for 10 FULL days from the date of the test (if asymptomatic) or for 10 FULL days since they first developed symptoms.
COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit
If you have been told to isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19, you can apply for a COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.
If you are ill for another reason or self-isolating because you are medically vulnerable, you should apply for standard Illness Benefit.