Everyone’s a little stressed these days with a heightened concern for staying healthy. In these uncertain times, people are making sacrifices, and those sacrifices are having unintended consequences– cutting back on going out to eat has seen many restaurants shuttered in a matter of weeks, for example. Here at West Seattle Electric and Solar, we understand that the safety of you and your family is of paramount importance.
When you invite us into your home, you are putting trust in not only our work, knowledge, and experience, but in our respect for your space. That is why we would like to take a moment to discuss the steps we are taking to ensure that your experience with us is the best it can be.
SICK EMPLOYEES ARE INSTRUCTED NOT TO COME TO WORK
Effective immediately, employees exhibiting any symptoms of illness are being asked to stay home from work and to self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks. Our teams have also been trained to look critically at any symptoms they may be experiencing to try to identify if they are going through a normal cold or allergies, or if they should be contacting their physician. Paid sick leave is available and we are doing everything in our power as a small business to minimize the financial impact any illnesses may have on our employees and their families.
Obviously, the best, most tried-and-true way to battle germs is thorough, frequent handwashing throughout the day and especially after contact with high-touch surfaces. It’s historically proven and simply good practice. And although it is something we all do many times per day, it never hurts to brush up on technique.
Upon the news of the COVID-19 outbreak in our region, we took the opportunity to make a refresher on good, comprehensive handwashing technique the safety topic at our very next weekly company meeting. Each week since, in addition to our weekly safety topic, we reiterate the correlation of good hygiene to good health. While finishing our jobs quickly and correctly is always of high importance, taking time throughout the day for cleanliness is also at the top of our list.
HAND SANITIZER: YES, PLEASE!
Since the recent widespread discovery of COVID-19 in the greater Seattle area, we have gone through great pains to ensure that there is hand sanitizer on every one of our vehicles that sees job sites, both company-owned and personally-owned. However, even more recently, we have enacted a company-wide policy that each of our employees is to be supplied with their own personal hand sanitizer, which is to be kept in their tool bag at all times.
All field personnel have been instructed to use their hand sanitizer upon entering client homes and frequently throughout the day, especially after touching the vehicles, their faces, and any potentially high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs.
HAND SOAP: LATHER UP!
Hand sanitizer is a great tool to have in a pinch, but the fact of the matter is, it just isn’t as effective on visibly dirty hands as a good scrub is– and in our trade, dust, grime, and dirt are an unavoidable part of life. Therefore, to help us keep as germ-free as possible, we do ask that you allow our team to use your sink with more frequency than you may be accustomed to from other contractors’ jobs in the past. There is just no substitute for precaution, and if we could bring our own sinks, we would. Since that isn’t a possibility, please help us roll with things to keep the jobsite– and your home– as safe as possible. Because of this frequent hand-washing, our field teams are also stocked with their own hand soap, and you will be under no expectation to cover that expense.
SHOE COVERS ALL DAY
Shoe covers are a good practice on the whole, but they are especially important at a time like this. All company vehicles and employee tool bags are stocked with plenty of disposable shoe covers on a daily basis. The use of shoe covers was previously evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as these covers can limit agility in some instances. However, until further notice, shoe covers are now mandatory in all situations that are not considered a safety threat. Unfortunately, covers cannot be used at all times, as they do not offer the same grip as the sole of a work boot does, and the physical safety of our team cannot be ignored. However, covers are now mandatory for all situations in which they do not impact mobility and/or grip.
As a side note: while we absolutely acknowledge that the careless use of disposable items is in direct conflict with our renewable message, the health of our team and our clientele is non-negotiable to us. Reusable boot covers are a fantastic option in situations that don’t see contractors moving inside to outside and back again with the frequency that ours do. Since we do find ourselves going from inside to outside quite a bit, disposable boot covers have been deemed to be the best item for our needs.
FACE MASKS: A TOOL OF OUR TRADE
Face masks are a critical part of our uniform. They protect us from dirt and biological matter year-round, no matter what illnesses may or may not be going around. We frequently find ourselves needing them for attic work, where aerated fiberglass insulation and rodent leavings can be a huge threat; to older buildings, where asbestos can be unavoidable; to homes requiring lots of demolition work, which can kick up unsafe amounts of drywall dust. As such, we have a stock of respirators on our trucks at all times.
While we acknowledge that the CDC has asked us all to avoid the overbuying of face masks, both due to the needs of actual medical personnel, and to their documented lack of efficacy when used by the general public, this does not apply to the face masks utilized by us and other tradespeople. The respirators we use are of an entirely different classification, and an absolute necessity in the situations our team often encounters. We are absolutely not flouting any of the requests of the medical community or the CDC.
That said, if you or your loved ones would feel more comfortable if we were to don our masks while working in your home, do not hesitate to let us know. We are absolutely willing to accommodate that ask, because again, your health and wellbeing matter to us. That means both physical and mental, and we are committed to that fact.
Thank you for choosing West Seattle Electric and Solar. We are honored you have put your trust in our (very clean!) hands during these difficult and unsettling times. Small businesses are the foundation of our economy, but we are also some of the most vulnerable when a tragedy like this occurs. Many family-owned companies are one tough month from shuttering and when you support companies like ours, you are directly responsible for helping us stay in business and feed our families. Your support means the world to us, and we are grateful to every one of you.