Wellbeing: Should plumbers still wear PPE?

Wearing PPE, including facemasks, protects you and your customers

Personal protective equipment, or PPE as it is more commonly known, is an essential tool in any installer’s kit. From goggles and hard hats to protective gloves and knee pads, using PPE when carrying out a job is just a matter of best practice.

As the COVID-19 pandemic reached the UK, another element of PPE was introduced in the form of mandatory face coverings as a way for individuals to protect other people they come into contact with. This was something that some members of the general public rejected, but within the heating and plumbing industry facemasks played an important role in minimising transmission and making customers feel safe in their homes.

“We have followed government protocol since the beginning of the outbreak to protect our customers, ourselves and our families,” says Mel Gumbs, plumbing and heating engineer, and CIPHE President. “In addition to the face coverings, we also washed our hands regularly, used hand sanitiser as well as antiseptic wipes and sprays. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

Although face coverings are no longer a legal requirement in parts of the UK, government guidance says it “expects and recommends” the continued wearing of masks in crowded areas such as public transport.

There is a good argument for keeping covered when you look at other countries, such as China, particularly Hong Kong. According to Statista, as of 29 July, 2021, the number of confirmed deaths due to coronavirus in the UK amounted to 129,515, whereas Reuters COVID-19 Tracker shows Hong Kong’s reported coronavirus-related deaths totalling 212 as of 25 July, 2021. Even taking into account the size difference of the populations, Hong Kong’s death rates are significantly lower than that of the UK.

A key difference is that facemasks have been used in Asia as a matter of course since the SARS outbreak in March 2003. It is seen as a civic duty to protect others and given their death statistics it is something that the UK should be mindful of.

“As a general recommendation, the use of facemasks is a worthwhile preventative measure for all sorts of viruses and minimises transmission to the vulnerable,” says Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE. “Facemasks are therefore something that heating and plumbing engineers should have in their armoury.”

You might also like

How can buildings protect human health?

How can buildings protect human health?

Power to the people

Power to the people

Get the most out of central heating

Get the most out of central heating