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The Decorators' Safety Checklist for Returning to Work

As lockdown measures begin to ease in the UK, many of us will be going back to work. For decorators this means knowing the right information on how to work with clients, both in and out of their homes. Working safely during COVID-19 means reassuring your staff and customers that you are following the correct procedures. Here is a UK Government Guidelines checklist for everything decorators need to think about when returning to work.

The government guidelines in relation to work have been ever changing, but as the lockdown starts to lift directions on who should return to work have been released. The advice applies to all 'in-home workers', including  decorators, repairmen, fitters, meter readers, plumbers, cleaners, cooks and surveyors. In all cases, employers are urged to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, and to consult with workers and unions prior to starting work. The checklist for a risk assessment is as follows. 

Calculate the risks 

  1. No work should be done in a household which is isolating due to one or more family members experiencing Coronavirus symptoms. These individuals will have been advised to shield themselves from the public, therefore the only situation which permits work being done is if it is to remedy a direct risk to the individual or their household.
  2. When working in a household where someone is part of a ‘at risk’ group (elderly, prior conditions), prior arrangements should be made to limit any face to face contact. Consider the risks and how you would deal with them prior to starting work e.g opening the door, payment. Filling out a risk assessment document is a great way to identify any potential problem areas and find solutions. This can be shared with the homeowner to show your plans to reduce any risk of infection.

Reduce the risks

  1. Take extra care in all households, you should be strict about hand washing, sneezing hygiene (cover your nose and mouth) and disposing of single use tissues. Hands should be washed multiple times a day for 20 seconds using soap and hot water.
  2. Regularly clean any objects that you touch using cleaning products to avoid passing infection.
  3. If there are multiple people working on a site or home, aim to maintain safe work practices by limiting the amount of movement. Keep to a social distance of 2m where possible and have the same people working together everyday.

Bring safety supplies

  1. Certain supplies may be required that are not already in your van, so it would be wise to stock up before arriving on site. Masks are not required to work in people’s homes however having some on hand for the comfort of your workers and clients would be wise. Masks may be the preferred choice for initial meetings or crowded areas, so it is best to be prepared.
  2. Disposable gloves are also handy to have on site when handling furniture or objects around the clients home. Just remember to change them every time you enter and leave the property.
  3. Everyone loves a cup of tea on the job but for now it would be wise to bring our own flask, water bottle or mug to protect yourself and stay hydrated. 

Clear communication 

  1. It is important to communicate with households (ideally on the phone) prior to any visit to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimize risk for all parties. Clients are likely to be nervous about workers coming into their home so talking them through your safety procedures will help ease their minds.
  2. Health and safety should always be your top priority. If a prospect has visited a foreign country in the past few weeks or is showing symptoms of Coronavirus, you are entitled to refuse them as a client for your own protection.
  3. If a client arranges for work to be done but later cancels, the right to refund depends on  when and how the arrangement was made, whether work has been started or if they ordered ‘made to measure’ products. Further information can be found here.

For full information on the Government Guidelines on working in other people's homes during Coronavirus click here.

For more painting and decorating tutorials follow our tips and advice blog here.

Stay safe and good luck on your return to work!