We have just completed a second national lockdown and we are now in a regional county wide tiered system. Kent has been classified into tier 3 with the strictest restrictions in place and some of the worst statistics for infection and transmission rates. We are still key workers so can move about freely to treat pest outbreaks and infestations. There is a new test and trace system in place since lockdown 1 with new ventilation and PPE advice.
It can be broken down into 8 sections that form the priority action to safeguard my business and my customers. With 5 additional considerations
1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment.
2. Clean more often. Increase how often I clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Including equipment, carry boxes, car door handles, steering wheel, keys etc Remind myself and my customers to use hand sanitiser and to wash their hands frequently.
3. Remind my customers and myself to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. This is especially important if my customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions may apply. In general Pest Purge wears a face mask at all times when working inside a domestic or commercial property.
4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by reminding and telling everybody that they need to do this in order for me to carry out my work. No social distancing = No pest control. Lookout for and ensure that I follow one way signage and one way systems in commercial premises.
5. Consider ventilation. Pest Purge often works alone outside, this is considered the safest way of working. If working inside we will open a window to encourage air circulation to avoid breathing in stale air. Covid is thought to spread by droplet as well as aerosol dispersion, if the air is circulating and fresh air is introduced this will minimise the risk of exposure for me and my customers. Ventilate the work space whenever it is feasible to do so.
6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of my health and movements for 21 days. This is a legal requirement. Some exemptions apply. Pest Purge checks in at commercial premises where they are carrying out Test & Trace eg shops, pubs and restaurants. Pest Purge supports the Zoe Covid 19 Symptom Study being carried out helping to support the Government. The COVID Symptom Study, is a COVID-19 epidemiological research mobile app developed in the United Kingdom that runs on Android and iOS. A collaboration between King's College London, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals and ZOE Global Limited. Every day I input how I am feeling along with any covid test updates onto the data base, to assist with the national collection of health data to track Covid. Approximately 4.5 million people are participating by using this app.
7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be self-isolating. Before attending any job, Pest Purge asks the client if anyone has experienced any Covid symptoms. If any are reported, work will need to be delayed until self-isolation has been completed. Pest Purge cannot provide any site support if symptoms are evident.
8. Consider the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus for myself and others. Reassure myself, my customers and my clients (especially those that have been shielding for a long time) that Covid and the current onerous restrictions will not be around forever. Normality will return at some point. The development and roll-out of vaccines will help restore more normal living where personal interactions will be more fulfilling.
Five more things Pest Purge is managing whilst providing services in other people’s homes:
• Safety measures are explained to my customer before entering their home. I make sure that members of the household know they should maintain social distancing from me.
• Avoid crowded areas. Identify busy locations in the house such as hallways and avoid moving through them where possible. I work in one room and generally I try to work alone.
• Limit contact with customers. I bring my own food and drink and take breaks outside where possible. After completing the work I write up a Treatment Report which I go through with my client, I do not expect my clients’ to sign them, as they normally would, during this crisis.
• When working in a household with people at higher risk, I take extra measures to avoid contact, such as working in a separate room from them. They sit upstairs and I work away downstairs, there is no contact at all.
• Communicate and train. I make sure myself and my customers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being used. I attend professional updates from my industry bodies, to ensure I am working safely during this crisis.