We are, as a species, naturally inclined to want to connect. Indeed, we’d be quite doomed otherwise. However, we’re currently living through a time in history where it’s safer and more responsible for us all to keep our distance from one another.

This poses many problems, particularly in heavily congested cities such as London where keeping 2 metres apart from one another is all but impossible. It also poses a problem for engineers who need to be physically present in order to do their jobs. They can’t simply do it over a Zoom conference call, after all.

These are workers who will need to spend their working days on other people’s properties, potentially exposing themselves to coronavirus, which is something they could then end up taking home to their loved ones.

Let’s not sugar-coat this, for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be a rough ride for heating, plumbing and electrical engineers. Because even when the world has ‘got back to normal,’ it’s unlikely this virus is going anywhere any time soon and so social distancing is going to be part of our lives for a while.

But how can engineers keep themselves at a safe distance when they’re on the job? Here, we’ve outlined a few tips that you should always keep in the back of your mind, whether you’re working on an industrial scale – or are simply doing a gas check at a residential property. Because COVID does not discriminate on that front!

Be punctual

Last-minute jobs should be avoided at all costs unless an emergency strikes and you have no choice. Schedule all appointments at least a few days in advance to allow enough time for everyone to prepare for your arrival.

Once you’ve set a time for your visit, make sure you are as punctual as possible. Turning up an hour early or half an hour late will only confuse matters and make it more difficult for social distancing measures to be adhered to.

Hygiene is key

Always remember to wash your hands regularly, preferably using soap and hot running water where possible. Hand gel is also a good alternative if this isn’t possible, though be cautious about how you use alcohol-based sanitisers. Alcohol might help kill the virus but it can also burn your hands if used too frequently and can also be highly flammable.

Work alone

Whilst engineers generally tend to work alone more often than not, once you’re back on the job it might be tempting to lapse back into old habits when it comes to sharing the workload or socialising with your colleagues. This would be incredibly unwise. Remember, while it might feel as if everything has gone back to normal; it hasn’t. Indeed, it probably won’t do for a very long time.

Mask up

PPE for engineers might be a little like gold dust at the moment, but if you or your employer can get your hands on some simple face masks then make sure you’re wearing them at all times, unless you’re driving to and from the job.

Insist on training

It might seem a little patronising to suggest it, but it’s harder than you might think to follow the rules, so some training might be required.

Readjusting to a new status quo where we must always remain 2 metres apart from one another is going to take time and patience from all involved so every little bit of encouragement and training will help.

Open a dialogue with your employer

If you’re self-employed then obviously this doesn’t apply, but if you work for an electrical, heating and plumbing business then it is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that best practices are being followed and that the facilities are provided to allow you to do your job safely.