Health and Safety Measures for HVAC Contractors While on the Job

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how companies conduct business and interact with clients. Since the virus attacks the respiratory system, the circulation of air in indoor spaces became a major concern. As a result, many HVAC business owners were left wondering what that would mean for their business.

When the outbreak first took place, many buildings were temporarily shut down and are now slowly beginning to reopen. This means they all need to pass a thorough check of their heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. The main goal is to ensure good airflow because there is a higher risk of contracting the virus in a still air environment.

As a HVAC business owner, there are certain measures and precautions you need to take to ensure the health and safety both of your team and your customers.  

General Measures to Protect Your HVAC Employees from COVID-19

In preparation for your team to be ready to work in a safe environment while on the job, here are the general measures you should promote:

Actively encourage sick or symptomatic employees to stay home

This includes not only team members who have symptoms of the virus, but also their families. If they have someone sick at home, they shouldn’t come to work, no matter if they have symptoms themselves or not. 

Consider doing daily in-person or virtual health checks for every shift

This can include checking each person’s temperature before they enter the office or job site, as well as inquiring about their overall health condition, symptoms, etc. 

Identify where and how employees might be exposed to COVID-19 while on the job

As their employer, it is your duty to assess the risk of exposure to the virus and supply the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment), as well as to set the necessary precautions. 

Do a thorough assessment of each new job site, determine the PPE your people will need, supply it, and train the team on how to use it correctly. Even if the risk assessment has shown that the team shouldn’t wear specialized PPE, you still need to encourage them to wear cloth masks or face coverings. Be sure to educate your employees that wearing a cloth face covering doesn’t replace the need for social distancing. Whenever possible, there should be at least 6ft between people, or they should be separated by walls, plastic covers, and other fixed objects.

Separate sick and/or symptomatic employees

If there is a team member who becomes sick during the workday, they should immediately be separated from the others. You should send them home or to a medical facility based on their condition. 

Take action if someone from your team is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19

Once you have identified a sick team member and sent them home, it’s time to take care of disinfecting the touch points that the employee had been in contact with in the last 24 hours. You also need to find out the people they have been in contact with and screen them for symptoms.

Educate employees about the steps they should take to protect themselves both at work and at home

They should avoid touching their face with unwashed hands. Handwashing should last at least 20 seconds, or if there isn’t a handwashing facility, they should use a hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol. 

Plan your in-person HVAC Service estimates ahead of time

If you can switch to providing virtual estimates and consultations, that’s the preferred option. However, if you need to be present at the job site to estimate the cost of service, make sure to send only the essential employees/team member, equip them with proper PPE if necessary, and let them know they should keep the 6ft distance at all times. 

For places with poor airflow, it’s absolutely mandatory for your team to be wearing cloth face coverings.

Measures for Air Conditioning Repair Professionals

Since repair work often requires giving more specific estimates because the customer already has a system in place and a particular problem to solve, the most important thing is to switch to giving virtual estimates to customers instead of making a house visit. Ask the customer to provide photos or a video, as well as a detailed description of the issue over the phone. 

Don’t let others touch your tools, and if you’re working in teams, be sure to avoid tool sharing. Ask the clients to keep their distance while you’re working on their property. This means, at least 6 feet away from you and your team. Be sure to disinfect any touch surfaces (e.g. handrails, door knobs, AC units, pipes, switches, etc.) after completing the job to ensure you haven’t infected the area.

Additional Resources

It’s incredibly important to update your website, social media accounts, and Google My Business profile with your response to COVID-19, so that customers know you are still available for service and are taking the necessary precautions to protect them in these testing times. Doing that can often make the difference between getting people to call you and not reaching for the phone at all.

Make sure to check back with this page as we will be updating it as more information comes to light. For additional resources about COVID-19, measures, and updates, take a look at the official CDC and World Health Organization websites.