Protection from coronavirus

Important advice for members about managing the risk of catching and spreading coronavirus when doing work such as unblocking drains.

The coronavirus outbreak has created a health risk for plumbers who come into contact with sewage, faecal matter, body fluids, toilet paper or any other material that has been flushed down a toilet.

The risk arises from the possibility of catching the coronavirus from the faeces of an infected person. Although current information from the World Health Organisation suggests the risk is small, it must be taken seriously.

Therefore, we strongly advise all members to err on the side of extreme caution and use the highest level of personal protective equipment while doing any work such as unblocking a drain, sewer or toilet. In addition, hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water after completing the work.

Members who have plumbers or apprentices working for them have a legal responsibility to provide safe workplaces and ensure best practice health and safety procedures are followed. They should ensure their workforces are aware of the health risk and insist they follow the above precautions.

We also remind members that they are at the front line of public health. By doing everything possible to protect themselves and their employees, licensed plumbing contractors will also set a professional example and help to protect the broader community.

Members should also be mindful of the need to keep their families safe by being vigilant with the handling and disposal of dirty protective clothing.

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