Caution: This page may be updated without notice...
Our current policy
We are requesting, not forcing engineers to wear face coverings in client premises. Under current government guidelines, engineers are not required to wear a face covering when working in client homes, unless social distancing is either difficult to achieve or where it is simply not possible to social distance.
In the event that social distancing is not possible in client premises, we do request that customers also wear a face covering when around our engineers.
Where an engineer has deemed it appropriate to not wear a face covering, you should feel free to request the engineer does so if it makes you feel more comfortable.
The current GOV guidelines
You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
When we will not wear a face covering
Engineers may choose not to wear a face covering if their risk assessment indicates that little or no benefit shall be provided or in the following circumstances:
- You have requested the engineer to not wear one as you rely on lip reading or are hard of hearing.
- The premises is large enough to achieve social distancing.
- The engineer is attending to a gas leak or report of fumes (Face coverings reduce their ability to smell).
- The engineer is performing strenuous movements which require physical exertion and requires a higher intake of air to breathe.
- The engineer is required to wear lung protection based PPE or PPE that interfere's with the wearing of a face covering.
Engineers may refuse to wear a face covering where the wearing of a face covering puts them at risk in any other way; restricted breathing, additional PPE already being utilised, gas leaks, etc.
The problems we face
We have found over the lockdown period that face masks and coverings cause some unique problems to trades men and women which is probably why the government has stated the above and why we have relaxed our face covering policy since the beginning of the outbreak.
- Sense of smell
Gas has a smell added to make it identifiable. We have found through experience that nearly all masks and face coverings alter the smell and some block it almost completely. When working with gas, our senses are essential and face coverings have caused concerns with some engineers.
By now most people will have attempted to communicate with someone whilst wearing a mask or face covering. Like smells, they block noise, alter pitch and communication does become more difficult.
- Damp masks
Our engineering team work on boilers, boilers are hot and produce a water vapour (steam) when running which subsequently increases humidity levels. A damp mask or face covering is difficult to breathe through and it would appear that if the virus is present, would subsequently thrive. Engineer's working on hot, wet components with a face covering have reported clogging of the covering - This is especially concerning for those on boiler installations where cylinders are drained and subsequently opened up.
The bottom line
At the moment, we are completing risk assessments on the phone and at the door. If we can work safely without a face covering, we will - However if you would feel more confident having a face covering, just ask. Engineers will not be offended and some will wear them as they prefer to themselves (Or their risk assessment has deemed it neccessary). Nobody wants to contract or spread this virus further. However, the facts are that at the moment, Government advice is not to deploy them and our engineering team's feedback has been concerning.