Safe Electrical Work in the Time of COVID
August 3, 2020 | Cristina Dinulescu
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything for many people and many businesses. It has definitely changed how we perceive and think about safety, especially in our everyday lives. The quarantine has made a lot of us anxious for a “return to normality”, but has also made us more guarded.
Keeping ourselves and our families and friends safe from future outbreaks has become the standard for safety, but that’s not to mean that other safety practices our guidelines become less important. Electrical safety remains of great importance for the security of your home and family. In addition, as we started working from home, spending more time at home and having the house become a central point in our lives, it’s important to ensure its comfort and capability to respond to modern demands.
But is it safe to have electrical work done during a period of quarantine?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided extensive guidelines for the control and prevention of COVID-19 for in-home repair services, which also includes electrical, and Penna Electric has taken every step to implement those guidelines and more in our day-to-day operations.
Steps Penna Electric Has Taken To Ensure Safety in the Time of COVID-19
Here, at Penna Electric, we are concerned about the health and safety of both our clients and our employees. This is why, even before going on-site for electrical inspections and work, we’ve taken steps to make sure that our workers are trained and knowledgeable when it comes to COVID-19 safety guidelines:
- We trained workers on the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, as well as thoroughly explained how the virus spreads;
- We trained our workers on the proper way to cover coughs or sneezes following CDC recommendations (sneezing or coughing into a disposable tissue or rag, or into the elbow crease), as well as on the importance of not touching their own faces;
- We provided our workers with extensive information on proper hygiene practices and social distancing as follows:
- Our workers maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from customers and other individuals, whenever possible;
- Our workers wear a mask at all times, which they put on even before they reach your front door;
- Our workers adopt appropriate cleaning practices, washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – if soap and water aren’t available, they use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol;
- Our workers sanitize all surfaces they touch;
- We trained our workers on the proper use of different types of PPE, as well as their limitations, handling, decontamination, removal, and disposal.
In addition to this training and ensuring that all workers follow these safety guidelines, we’ve taken further steps to prevent and limit the exposure and spread of the coronavirus. We ask that any individual who is experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or who is under required or voluntary quarantine, remains physically separated from the worker.
Similarly, we request all of our workers to go under self-isolation if they experience any of those signs or have come into contact with someone who has.
Other Safety Guidelines Under Consideration at Penna Electric
As we are looking ahead towards an uncertain future, we are constantly thinking of new and better ways to ensure the health and safety of our workers, as well as our clients and their homes.
As much as possible, we have already started communicating remotely with the customers, by cell phones or web chats, and encouraged internet-based payments and electronic signatures for confirmation that work was completed as opposed to handling cash, credit cards or papers.
However, we are also considering taking a step even further and looking at potential alternatives to on-site inspections, such as RVI programs. These are remote video inspections and use live video tools to safely and securely perform house inspections.
Electrical Safety Tips When Working From Home
We, at Penna Electric, understand the importance of electrical safety at home, as we have seen first-hand the risks it involves. We also understand that, with many people working from home now, and some even turning rooms into home offices, the number of electrical hazards has increased. We always advise our customers to follow simple, yet effective, electrical safety tips while working from home:
- Avoid overloading outlets: people use several electronics in a home office, laptops, mobile phones, multiple screens, printers, etc. If this is the case, try and plug them into different outlets as much as possible to avoid overloading any one outlet.
- Limit the use of extension cords: when turning a room or space into a home office, consider its availability of wall outlets – the more wall outlets you have, the less need for extension cords. Not only are extension cords a hazard for your electronic devices, but they can also be tripping hazards, so plug in smartly.
- Unplug devices when not in use: chances are, with working from home, you’re already ramping up your electricity use. Unplug your home office devices when you’re not using them to save energy, but also to minimize the risk of shock or electrical fires.
- Keep all papers away from heat sources: papers and other flammable materials should be kept away from heaters, fans, and other heat sources. You should also make sure your house has properly functioning smoke alarms.