Studies show that the number of home improvement and maintenance activities soared during the pandemic. And it’s no surprise—all of us are spending more time at home than ever before, and we want our homes to be a haven and a place where we can do everything, from rest to work to fitness. If you’re one of those homeowners who will have work done on your home, here are some pointers to remember to help ensure your family and workers’ health and safety by decreasing the chances of COVID-19 infection.
Abide by health and safety guidelines from experts.
As always, your first line of defense is abiding by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) safety guidelines, which means the holy trinity of healthy practices: Keep a physical distance of at least six feet from others, wear a CDC-approved mask, and sanitize your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer for no less than 20 seconds. The same basic rule applies when you have a crew of people working in your home. If possible, encourage your family members to stay in their rooms to limit interaction with the workers.
Simultaneously, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also released guidance for the construction workforce during COVID-19, which construction agencies must abide by. This is on top of the already-established regulations regarding construction work, like the mandatory use of a safety helmet for construction workers and other workwear. The use of PPE may even be appropriate for some workers, which will largely depend on their employers’ hazard analysis and risk assessments. Both sides are working hard to ensure worker and client safety, so don’t hesitate to do your part as well.
Avoid all interactions if you’re feeling any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
The common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, or tiredness, while the less common ones include a loss of taste and/or smell, aches and pains, sore throat, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, headaches, discoloration of toes and fingers, and rashes on the skin. The more serious symptoms include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pressure or pain, and loss of movement or speech. Unless you’ve confirmed through a swab test that you don’t have the virus, go on no less than a 14-day quarantine and avoid interacting with your family and the workers at all costs. Self-isolate in your room and ask for assistance from your family members. If you live alone, consider postponing the renovations until you’ve recovered.
Ensure cleanliness at all times.
While there is currently no concrete data on how long the virus can survive on surfaces, the CDC still recommends that you clean and disinfect your home. Cleaning and disinfecting are more than just doing a regular dust-up or re-organization; it involves wiping down your home’s high-touch surfaces like tables, light switches, doorknobs, countertops, desks, handles, faucets, toilets, and sinks, as well as common areas that the workers might have spent a lot of time in. Wear your gloves and other skin protection in case of splash hazards. Ensure that your home has adequate ventilation and that you don’t mix chemical products. Only use the amount recommended on the label.
The Bottom Line
We need to live in the tension of acknowledging the reality of the virus while at the same time, not allowing it to get in the way of our plans. This means that taking every safety precaution possible to ensure that everyone who enters our home is healthy. These minor inconveniences are nothing compared to the peace of mind that we can have knowing that we’re doing our part in helping curb the rates of infection.