Covid-19 Plumbing Reports from Around the World

As the coronavirus spreads across the world, the health and economic impact will have repercussions for years and maybe decades to come. World Plumbing Day has come and gone, but this year may have had more significance than ever before because of COVID-19.

As the world responds to this pandemic, one of the simplest yet most effective ways we can combat the spread of this horrific disease is by stressing the importance of hand washing.

The adage “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation” is truer today than when it was first coined many years ago. With our plumbing systems being tested to their maximum working potential and the shortage of clean drinking water, it is vitally important that they don’t fail us now. The public needs to be assured that we can provide clean, safe drinking water and proper sanitation.

This page is a collection of resources that our WPC members have provided, as well as stories and experiences from around the globe. We hope you find this page both informative and useful in this ongoing pandemic.

~Tom Bigley, WPC Chairman

Resources and reports provided by WPC members (click each country to expand):

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) GUIDELINES FOR THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY VICTORIA (REVISION 3) 20 APRIL 2020

Building and Construction Industry Victoria Rapid Industry Guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Covid-A3-Posters with VBCI

COVID-19 Good Hygiene Checklist

COVID-19 Physical Distancing Checklist

COVID-19 Workplace Safe Checklist

 

Australia’s Overall Response

Submitted by Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre’s (PICAC)

Australia has flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases and the daily rate of new cases has dropped significantly and continues to remain at low levels. Australia has recorded 6,801 confirmed cases of Coronavirus to date, with 95 deaths and 75 seeking treatment in hospital as of 4 May 2020.

Every Australian State and Territory has implemented physical distancing measures, restricting the gathering of crowds and the operation of some services and facilities.

On 30 March 2020, the country’s two most populous States, New South Wales and Victoria, introduced Stage 3 restrictions limiting social gatherings to two people and banning all non-essential outings. Only essential shopping, medical care, exercise and work and study are acceptable reasons to be out of the home.

Australian borders were closed to all non-residents on 20 March 2020. Citizens repatriated from overseas have been required to isolate in quarantine for 14 days to reduce the risk of community transmission of the virus.

Special attention has been paid to make sure those most at risk are shielded from the disease. People over the age of 70 and those with chronic health conditions have been advised to stay home. Hospitals and health services have re-prioritized procedures and expanded capacities to manage any potential surge in demand.

State and territory health departments are continuing to conduct widespread testing and contact-tracing operations. Public health providers have recruited more personnel to identify and isolate cases and quarantine contacts.

With just 34 coronavirus patients in intensive care, the nation is prepared for future outbreaks with nearly 5,000 ventilators. Ten million testing kits are about to arrive in the country as states carry out testing blitzes to stay ahead of localised outbreaks.

These measures have had a positive impact on limiting the spread of coronavirus. New cases of infection have been trending downwards, from 460 new cases on 28 March 2020 to just 10 cases on 28 April 2020. These figures are encouraging and so far, it looks as if Australia has avoided the worst of the global pandemic.

Nonetheless, COVID-19 remains highly infectious and the situation continues to evolve. The virus has impacted almost every industry nationwide, including the plumbing industry.

In Australia, the construction industry remains open and fully operational. Government and industry are united in making sure that best practice guidelines are understood and observed on construction sites.

Social distancing and hygiene directions are crucial tools in controlling transmission risks on building sites. Screening workers coming to site, workplace mapping and physical distance measures all help limit exposure to COVID-19. Cleaning and disinfecting of workspaces and frequently handled surfaces must occur regularly and meal breaks should be staggered in order to reduce the number of workers in an environment at any one time.

Industry bodies and government regulators have provided resource kits for plumbing and construction workers and employers. Energy Safe Victoria, the independent regulator responsible for electricity, gas and pipeline safety in the State of Victoria, has released an information toolkit for Type A Appliance Gasfitters to ensure that essential services can be carried out safely. This information pack contains instruction on the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment and outlines how to appropriately follow public health directions on site.

Construction workers have been provided with access to dedicated mobile COVID-19 testing facilities in an initiative established by industry partner, Incolink. Supported by the State Government, the Incolink Bus commenced free Coronavirus testing on 28 April 2020 in Southbank, Melbourne and will be visiting work sites around Victoria to support the health and safety of workers in the industry.

Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre’s (PICAC) Response

At PICAC, a range of protective measures has been implemented to safeguard students and staff from Coronavirus. Health and physical distancing information has been displayed in prominent locations around the campuses. Signs signalling screening requirements have been placed at all entry points on site. All new students and visitors are required to read and follow the conditions of entry to campus. Liquid hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed in common areas of all PICAC campuses.

Where possible the transitioning to online training delivery has been implemented and some classes have been postponed. The Easter break period was extended from 9 – 28 April 2020, enabling all facilities and teaching spaces to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Staff are working from home and coming into sites only where necessary. Daily contact has been maintained with all staff via video/phone conferencing to support ongoing engagement. Regular updates have been provided to students, staff and our business and industry partners via e-news and direct emails.

PICAC is continuing to work closely with the relevant state-based health authorities in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to plan for, and respond to, the current and future impact of COVID-19 on its students, staff and the wider community.

PICAC’S BRUNSWICK (VICTORIA) FACILITY – MEASURES IN PLACE

The IPG Members Supporting Their Communities – COVID 19

Submitted by Nike Lovell, The IPG

Leaders Must Acknowledge Essential Role of Plumbers in Fight Against COVID-19

The world has rapidly changed over the past three months. When we heard Big Ben chime and celebrated the arrival of 2020, who could have predicted that by early spring we would see the UK in lockdown, along with the rest of the world. Confined to our homes, we have been setting up home offices and schooling, and will be keeping our distance from work colleagues, friends and family for the foreseeable future. No small business could predict or plan for this unprecedented event; however, The IPG members are quickly adapting to this unusual environment and we’d like to share some of their stories with you.

Paton of Walton in Walton-on-Thames remains open for business 8:30 a.m.-3.30 pm weekdays, 8.30 a.m.-1.30 p.m. on Saturdays, while helping their local community. They are ensuring that local families are keeping their critical home facilities working. Paton’s have considerately adapted their services to deliver to their customers’ doorstep if required. Recently, they helped a local family who were in isolation. They desperately needed a part for their heating system which had broken, meaning their house was cold and they had no hot water. Paton of Walton were able to get the emergency part and deliver to the family, following all government guidelines. The company are also committed to keeping their staff safe during the pandemic, requesting that customers call first and then collect the goods from their doorstep at an agreed time.

WMI Simpsons Ltd, Barnet currently open from 6 a.m.-5:30 p.m., are the self-proclaimed fourth emergency service in their area. Their business is being reactive and remains busy; they are fortunate as one of their specialisms is heating and boiler spares, and it is essential that homes are heated along with water. Local emergency installers are still working hard to ensure that their customers’ vital services are maintained, and they require parts.

As the events of the past couple of weeks unfolded, WMI Simpsons advised their staff that they could go home if they wanted to, but all staff volunteered to stay and continue to work and support the business. The safety of their staff is WMI Simpsons’ priority during this health emergency, so they devised a safe method of serving customers described as a chain gang, ensuring that all staff and customers are keeping to the 2-metre distance rule. A gazebo has been set up at the front of the store as a temporary trade counter, so no customer enters the store. There is a sanitising area where every customer is required to wash their hands before being served, and all staff are wearing gloves. Each member of staff is given a specific task: someone picks from the warehouse, another member takes it to the temporary trade counter and then someone serves the customers. Every customer, including members of the public, are being given trade prices. All payment transactions are made by card.

Golita Supplies, Blackburn, are currently keeping to their normal trading hours for emergencies but are reviewing daily. Business is slowing and they think that this is due to jobs finishing and work sites closing. They are analysing stock each day and engaging with their customers to try and understand why customers are coming to the store. If business continues to slow, they will reduce their opening hours to five to six hours per day; this information will be available on The IPG website. Like other IPG members, staff are wearing gloves and masks, they have an hourly cleaning rota to clean the trade counter, hand sanitizers are always available and social distancing rules have been implemented within the store.

Gill’s Plumbing and Heating, Welwyn Garden City, are adapting to new customer requirements. Local installers are still out and about supporting their customers with emergencies, so it is important that their trade counter remains open and continues to support their community; however, they have closed the showroom. Skeleton staff are in place wearing protective gloves, only one person is allowed at the counter at any one time, and they are also only accepting cashless payments. For their account customers, they are offering a pick-and-pack service, which they will leave outside of the customer’s home. Local households require water softener and salt, and currently Gill’s are delivering to the doorsteps of those customers who are self-isolating and are vulnerable, demonstrating the importance of our independent merchants all over the country. Somewhere not far from you is a similar independent, who needs your support now and, in the future, more than ever.

While many of our IPG member stores continue to remain open for business, footfall has understandably dropped, and several installations have been postponed for the protection of public health. As this national emergency unfolds, our members will continue to face challenges and may have to temporarily close due to staff shortages or government instruction over the coming weeks.

COVID-19 is an unexpected challenge for every single business in 2020. While some of the government initiatives put in place by the Treasury will undoubtedly help independent merchants, it may not help their immediate cash flow, as they are waiting for the process to be put in place. It has never been so important to support your independent merchant, who is in the heart of your community. Many of them have been a part of it for decades.

Please note that member opening times are current as of the time the press release was issued, though they are subject to change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interview with Mr. Qin Yongxin, WPC Director (China)

Have there been any documented Covid-19 cases that were a result from exposure to working on a live plumbing system?

So far as we knew, there has been no documented case that were a result from exposure to working on a live plumbing system in the mainland, except one case caused by unknown reason from Hong Mei House, Hong Kong.

Have plumbers been permitted to work during the quarantine orders? Plumbers have been deemed essential workers in some countries that are quarantined because they provide a service that is essential to the health of the public.

During the quarantine orders, plumbers have been permitted to work after well protection.

What PPE is being mandated for plumbers who are working on live plumbing systems?

For plumbers who are working on live plumbing systems, they were mandated with PPE such as gauze mask, laboring gloves and tool washing, hygiene advice and so on. The levels of PPE are different according to the Covid-19 risk assessment in different areas.

Have there been any new guidelines adopted for returning to work for the construction industry?

Yes, there have been some new guidelines adopted. First of all, establish coordination mechanism for epidemic prevention and control. Secondly, provide full-time health personnel and do a good job in epidemic prevention and control management.

Thirdly, strengthen the management and control of external personnel and implement various prevention and control measures.

Then do a good job in emergency disposal.

Last but not least, strengthen the management and control of external personnel and implement various prevention and control measures.

Have there been any guidelines adopted for flushing of plumbing systems for buildings that were shuttered due to people being sent home to quarantine during pandemic?

Yes, there have been some guidelines adopted and they were different according to the different provinces and areas.

Strides taken by Indian Plumbing Association during COVID-19 Crisis

Submitted by B.S.A. Narayan, WPC Director (India)

Government of India (GOI) is taking all necessary steps to ensure that we are prepared well to face the challenge and threat posed by the growing pandemic of COVID-19 the Corona Virus. India went into a Lockdown to prevent the community spread of the virus on 24th March for 3 weeks which was extended across India till 3rd May and has now been taken up to 17th May. This is the prime reason why, the COVID-19 infection rate in India remains low relative to population size.

World Health Organization has praised the Government of India for its relief packages for the poor during this lockdown as the economy has slowed down due to complete closure of all activities. GOI has launched the Aarogya Setu, a mobile App developed by the ministry of electronics and IT to help citizens identify their risk of contracting Covid-19 (coronavirus). Apart from countless efforts by the government, associations, NGOs and private organizations are also contributing to the fight against the pandemic in every manner they can.

Indian Plumbing Association, the apex body of plumbing professionals in India, is strongly working towards building awareness among the plumbing professionals amid this adverse situation. The most important factor in preventing the spread of the virus locally is to empower the citizens with the right information and taking precautions as per the advisories. All through the lockdown IPA is making undaunting efforts towards spreading the right information to its members and authorities on the precautions that are to be taken with respect to plumbing in building premises when we plan to re-open them after a long closure. Below is list of some of the steps taken by IPA:

a) Donation to PM Cares Fund

IPA as an apex body, donated INR 2 Million to PM Cares Fund (The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), a fund created on 28th March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.

b) Post COVID-19: Guidelines for Resumption of HVAC, Fire, Electrical, Plumbing & ELV Services for Commercial Buildings & Industrial Facilities:

IPA along with other Technical Partner associations from the building sector viz.  ISHRAE (The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers), FSAI (Fire and Security Association of India), IEEMA (Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association), developed a comprehensive document for resumption of building services. This document will be a great resource for the entire building fraternity across India in the Post COVID Lockdown. A copy of the document is attached in the email for your ready reference.

https://www.indianplumbing.org/COVID-19-Resources

c) Whitepaper on Remedial Measures after COVID-19

The Whitepaper discusses in detail about the common problems that can occur due to a long closure and the solutions to these problems and provides technical guidance on health and safety norms to be followed by professionals and the workforce engaged in plumbing.

If adequate precautions with respect to plumbing are not taken, then it can result in serious health hazards.

This Whitepaper was widely circulated by IPA at the National level to Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Health and other Chief Minister’s Offices at the State level so that it is accepted as an advisory and sent by authorities to all buildings and industrial establishments. A copy of the Whitepaper is attached for your ready reference. Link for the Whitepaper is given below:

https://www.indianplumbing.org/pdf/April_39-40.pdf

d) Knowledge Transfers through Webinars

To make use of this time for dissemination of knowledge on plumbing, IPA is organizing various Webinars where IPA members from across the country and plumbing professionals are participating in huge numbers. Some of the successful webinars which registered a huge gathering have been listed below.

    1. Back of the Wall Plumbing Services
    2. Importance of Hygiene in Bathrooms and its Automation
    3. Water: Source of Life
    4. Work From Home Security and Digital Transformation

e) Circulating Resources on Social Media and emails

Amid this unprecedented time, IPA continues to circulate information on what is it that plumbing professionals need to be careful about during their working. “Together We Can” come out of this crisis is our mantra.

Portable Wash Basin For Fight Against COVID- 19

Submitted by Chaitanya Patil – Pratham Plumbing Program Alumni

Chaitanya Patil, resident of Alibaug, Raigad, Maharashtra, has taken a step forward to support the community for the fight against COVID-19. Considering the anniversary of his beloved grandmother’s death, Patil and his family decided to build and donate a portable wash basin for the community/village. With the motivation behind this to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in their village, he thought that the preventive measure to fight against the disease is to wash hands properly. So, he and his family members took a stance to keep this portable wash basin at the main entrance of their village and asked the villagers and visitors to wash their hands properly before entering the village. He got this idea from his working location.

Patil, an alumnus of VOLTAS supported Pratham Plumbing Training Center – Panvel, Batch No. 21, has successfully completed his training as a general plumber. Following his training, he has been placed at Della Adventure & Resorts, Lonavala, as an assistant plumber (Salary PM In hand Rs. 9,200/- with Accommodation, TA, ESIC, PF & Mediclaim). While working at the resort, he came across the highly advanced portable wash basin, which was being used at various events in the resort. From there he started thinking of making a similar sort of low-cost wash basin and presenting it for the welfare of the community.

Covid-19: The New Zealand Response

Submitted by WPC Director, Peter Jackson (New Zealand)

New Zealand’s response has been one of the strongest in the world, and they have come through the Covid-19 crisis reasonably well with less than 20 deaths in total.

Credit for this is largely due to the New Zealand government’s strategy that was based on science and evidence.  The threat posed by the disease was recognised early and the country went into a four week lockdown.

That strategy has proven highly successful with the daily record of infections now in single figures and the nation set to start moving out of this lockdown.

Peter Jackson, WPC Director, says “Classified as essential workers, New Zealand plumbers have been very much some of the unsung heroes during the crisis.  They have kept essential water and sanitation services functioning throughout the lockdown.”

Acting as a central body for distribution of essential information for key issues such as the correct use of PPE gear, contact tracing, H&S planning, tool washing, hygiene advice and more, was the NZ regulatory body, the Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.

“This crisis has shown just how valuable the sharing of knowledge on a global level is – as much of that guidance being distributed drew on information being passed throughout the global plumbing community”, Peter said.

At Alert Level 4 (lock down), the aim for New Zealand was to stop community transition of COVID-19. A vital step to protect people’s health and ensure the health system could cope and look after New Zealanders who became sick.

“Staying at home being essential during this time was a simple but highly effective way to constrain the virus – and gave our healthcare system a fighting chance.  However, looking ahead the battle is an ongoing one for New Zealanders”, said Peter.

In Peters opinion; “While the industry still needs to continue to be vigilant for further waves of infection, the focus also now needs turn to the economic impact.  Although there have been few employee lay-offs at this point – it is expected to quickly change as our economy reopens.”

“This is a particular concern for our industry.  The impact on apprenticeship numbers in training is likely to bear the immediate impact of any economic downturn.”

“We need to ensure we don’t make the mistakes of the past where apprenticeships are concerned.   Our current numbers must not only be maintained, but continue to increase.  Now is the time for New Zealand to be proactively exploring the options of how this can be done to secure the future of our construction industry.” – Peter concluded.

Philippines: Plumbing Amid COVID-19

Article contributed by Allan S. Dumalay, NAMPAP, Inc.

Each community “purok” entrance were provided with improvised washing station – soap, pail, and dipper for basic hygiene. A not so reliable system but trust and care for everyone is the fundamental of a Filipino culture.

PHILIPPINES is categorized as a developing country – a poor agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially.

The potable water supply distribution system is categorized into three levels. Highly urbanized cities are on Level III – “running water point” houses connected to water districts or accredited concessionaires. Most of the rural areas are still on Level II – a system serving an average of four to six households. Non-community dwellings within a 250-meter radius that have a stand-alone water supply serving 15 or more households are referred to a system called Level I.

Level I and II water supply systems are said to be rarely controlled by the government sanitary or health inspection and recording; waters are untested and unmonitored for potability. The community locals may have developed an immunity with the common pathogens and thus seldom are reported being sick. However, in my personal experience, when my city-raised young niece Raine Cassandra drank from a common well in a suburb during a relative visit, she suffered severe diarrhea thereafter.

The COVID-19 outbreak is an international health emergency, and the devastation it has caused is dominating headlines around the world.

Philippines has suffered through such a pandemic before: In the 19th century, the cholera outbreak was so feared that it was said that people are falling like broomsticks in the wind. It was the first time in recorded history that major cities and municipalities were locked down for quarantine.

Unfortunately, despite modern medical equipment, technologies, pharmaceuticals and knowledge,  some front-line medical workers and professionals were also affected and succumbed with their patients. It is such a tragedy that medical specialists, the most noble among professionals, are gone in an instant with this unlikely global event. The health authority has called for social distancing, proper personal protective gear and proper sanitation and hygiene in order to avoid transmission and contamination. Isolation of detected cases before a proper medication or immunization is discovered, tested, and made available for prescription is also ordered.

In the midst of Covid-19 scare, today (March 17, 2020) a WASH facility at Lumbangan Elementary School, Zamboanga, Philippines, observing proper handwashing – sanitation and hygiene! At the entrance of a Public Market, hand washing station was installed to comply with protocol for the communities for a proper sanitation and hygiene, as COVID-19 spread fear, lingering the entire country.

 

Some rural areas, however, had no access to running water and devised a solution to address the basic sanitation need. The local news announced makeshift hand-washing stations were provided for each community clusters, but they were not in a condition that was suitable for proper hygiene.

As the World Plumbing Council and the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) have posted, “Handwashing is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. But two (2) in five (5) health care facilities globally do not have soap and water or hand sanitizer at points of care.”

In the midst of virus scare, the concerned private entities, rotarians, and local government units throughout the country are bravely and speedily installing and turning over much-needed hand-washing facilities to the required stations in anticipation of government lock-down notices. Kudos to these ladies and gentlemen doing “service above self” and “good to the world.”

Behind those rainwater harvesting down spouts, well and pump, water tank, gate valves, pipelines, lavatories, faucets, and drains, plumbers — which the WHO has declared to be among the most important frontline health workers – the trustworthy installers and handymen of such facilities are recognized, appreciated, rewarded, and humbly bracing for the next actions.

With the expected highly contagious and lethal pathogens in the plumbing workers environment in a case when “called for,” a “Level C” state-of-the-art personal protective equipment/gears will be adopted. Though it is difficult donning, moving, and doffing; the workers’ health and safety was of priority. The Philippine Government, Filipino People, and the Master Plumber CARES!

COVID-19 Experiences in the UK

Submitted by Kevin Wellman, Chief Executive Officer
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering

The difficulties created as a result of the coronavirus are worsening every day. It is predicted that the peak for new cases of the virus could subside in two to three weeks’ time, but to achieve this the public must adhere strictly to government guidelines on social distancing. Having introduced a lockdown across the UK there are still many people who are flouting this request and are still meeting in groups. There has been confusion within the construction industry due to mixed messages from ministers. The prime minister is constantly asking non-“key workers” to refrain from work but to stay at home. Financial support packages have been put in place for employees to cover up to 80% of their salaries, but we are awaiting an announcement (due tomorrow) about support for self-employed installers. Some 85% of those involved in the plumbing and heating industry are self-employed or running businesses of up to five employees.

One of the effects of this crisis is that many people panicked and were buying in bulk essential items, including toilet roll. The shortage led to the public to use wet wipes, newspaper and other items deemed unfit for sewers/drainage systems. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in drainage systems/sewers to become blocked creating sanitation/public health issues!

Plumbing and heating installers, despite the work they do as custodians of public health, are not recognised as key workers, and I have made numerous representations to government about this. Coordinated through the Construction Industry Council, the following list for those likely to be involved in critical work within the construction industry has been submitted to government:

  1. All general building control work for nationally important buildings/facilities (e.g., NHS estate, GPs, etc.)
  2. Unsafe buildings/dangerous structures – district surveyors need powers to instruct emergency work to be done to make them safe if any occur – and a hastily abandoned site might just lead to a dangerous structure occurring
  3. Structural inspections for subsidence/movement to determine risk
  4. Structural and roofing problems, loose tiles/chimney stacks, weathering
  5. Bridge inspection and maintenance
  6. Dam inspection and maintenance
  7. Maintaining key national infrastructure: power stations and grid, motorways, railways, utilities, etc.
  8. Drainage works/maintenance, etc. – important to avoid any increased public health problems in this respect
  9. Fire safety inspections
  10. Requirement for maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment to meet fire safety legislation – even if buildings are not occupied
  11. Waking Watch staff
  12. Ongoing need for fire risk assessments, both to meet legislation and new circumstances in buildings
  13. Remedial work required to remove unsafe ACM cladding, etc.
  14. Glazing replacement
  15. Locksmithing/lock replacement
  16. Gas safety work/suspected gas leaks
  17. Electrical safety work/electrical failures
  18. Flood remediation (especially to homes hit by recent floods)
  19. Plumbing and heating failures, including loss of heating/condensate problems/hot water services
  20. Emergency Leaking/flooding
  21. Health risks associated with blocked drainage/sewerage systems
  22. Water companies – remedial/emergency work to buildings and assets that are crucial to the supply of clean water
  23. New or business/safety critical maintenance work on establishments which are involved in supply chain of vital NHS equipment (e.g., where manufacturers are building units to make ventilators),
  24. Factories that are making anything required to combat the virus (e.g., a new hand sanitizer factory is under construction);
  25. Food supply chain – essential new builds or maintenance on existing buildings
  26. Extra warehouse space for food distribution by online platforms (to cope with massively increased demand)
  27. New or business/safety critical maintenance work on establishments which are involved in supply of medicines
  28. Essential maintenance on morgues, funeral parlors, and crematoriums
  29. Installation/maintenance technicians providing services to key sectors – health, power, etc.
  30. Emergency callouts, safety checks and essential work in care homes?
  31. Ongoing supervision and security measures
  32. Sites where anti-terrorism considerations need to take precedence over other concerns (e.g., Palace of Westminster)
  33. Urgent works on emergency service properties other than health (e.g., police, fire)
  34. Unsafe infrastructure – if a lorry strikes a bridge during the shutdown, for example, then work may be needed to make safe the affected structure.
  35. Major road or highway that impacts on road safety and could cause delays to crucial freight / emergency services if not carried out
  36. Roundabout and road upgrade schemes that are already underway and have traffic management on – these could cause significant disruption if they then have to be restarted when local businesses return to work – opportunity to get some of the work that causes congestion done now (safely)
  37. Highway drainage schemes – keeping roads open to hauliers and freight
  38. Maintenance work to the local and strategic road networks, carried out using surface treatments, should be considered critical to the upkeep of UK vital infrastructure, in order to keep supply chains moving — there is only a relatively short window (March – September) to get maintenance done or it will have a detrimental affect later in the year
  39. Essential road works relating to resurfacing caused by road traffic accidents and/or highway fires
  40. Some of the work is done by a transient workforce so accommodation (e.g., hotels) is required
  41. Security (for the public) of unattended sites is a concern
  42. Highway structure inspections as essential maintenance work picks up
  43. Repair and maintenance of telecommunications, energy waste and water (and maybe transport; though lockdown will see significant reduction) – these are vital to work from home
  44. Small, domestic extensions and refurbishments (a large quantity of construction work). Leaving them unfinished may not achieve much in terms of virus transmission, and may discourage people returning to their properties if they have vacated them
  45. R&D facilities, where related to vaccine development or virus treatment
  46. Work on factories that make materials that are vital to all elements on this list

I am very concerned that the safety, health and welfare of the public, especially the vulnerable, will be compromised if plumbing engineers are not allowed to attend to their emergencies in the coming weeks. Moreover, once the UK begins its recovery I fear that, as a consequence of many businesses closing, we will end up with a greater shortage of skilled installers and designers than we have now.

The last thing I want to do is force people into work, but at the same time if they feel fit and able to attend to the urgent needs from the public they should be allowed to do so. I also recognize that the UK government, and indeed those across the world, have an enormous global challenge to attend to.

There is no doubt that this experience will be a game changer, which could lead to more people working from home in the future with meetings, conferences and training events carried out remotely/electronically.

United Assocation (UA) Resource Page

The United Association has developed guidance on COVID-19. For information about the coronavirus and tips on staying safe, visit the links below.

UNITED ASSOCIATION
General President’s Latest Video to the Membership (5/5/20) NEW
General President’s COVID-19 Update to the Membership (3/26/2020)
General President’s Video Message to the Membership (3/19/2020)
Guidelines for Worker Health in Plumbing and HVAC (United Association, 3/25/2020) UPDATED
WEBINAR: Guidelines for COVID-19 to Help Protect Mechanical Industry Workers (MCAA and UA, 3/26/2020)
COVID-19: Keeping You and Your Family Safe and Healthy

GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

NIOSH – National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
COVID-19 Main Page
Counterfeit Respirators/Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval
NIOSH-Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators
Filtering Out Confusion: FAQ About Respiratory Protection NEW

NIH – National Institutes of Health
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

NIEHS – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Worker Training Program – COVID-19 Worker Training Tools NEW

DHS CISA – Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency
Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 Response

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY RESOURCES

MCAA – Mechanical Contractors Association of America
COVID-19 Resource Center

ASSE International (ASSE International is making the ASSE Series 12000 Standard available for FREE while pandemic is ongoing.)

ASHRAE – American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparedness Resources

Milwaukee Tool
Guidance on Cleaning Tools

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Resource Page

IAPMO is committed to safety; as we protect the health of the nation through plumbing, we also act to protect our members and employees. This website contains links to important documents directly supporting the plumbing and mechanical industry.

On March 19, President Trump and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Coronavirus Guidance for America identifying plumbers and other tradespeople as “essential critical infrastructure workers” as our nation responds to the threat of COVID-19.

“Our industry has known for many decades that its contribution to society is essential to global health,” said IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney. “This new guidance, to state and local officials from the White House, validates that our industry is vital to the United States. Our highly skilled plumbers have been deemed essential to the nation’s ability to function and recognized as people on whom we can all depend in normal times or a global crisis.”

Federal Resources

CDC Guidance for Building Water Systems

Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown. Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria.

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CDC Guidance for Workplaces During the Pandemic

The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

Download Decision Tree

OSHA OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.

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WASH

WASH in Health Care Facilities

WHO, with UNICEF and International Federation of the Red Cross, recommends Member States provide access to hand hygiene in public places to stop the spread of COVID-19. Hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It also interrupts transmission of other viruses and bacteria causing common colds, flu and pneumonia, thus reducing the general burden of disease.

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Fed Federal Government Response: Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19

In a DHS memorandum issued by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) Director Christopher C. Krebs, CISA announced development of an initial list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers “to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

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State Resources

State

State Legislative Map – COVID-19 Response

The GovPredict team has created a state legislative map to help categorize and visualize the 50 states’ responses. You can see which states are introducing relief bills and the topics that these bills address, and quickly access the bills.

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NYC

COVID-19 Interim Guidance on NYC Cooling Tower Regulations

For building owners, building management, cooling tower industry, and water treatment operators and consultants during the COVID-19 pandemic – under NYS Executive Order 202.6, service providers for cooling tower systems that support “Essential Infrastructure” are EXEMPT from work staffing reduction requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Technical Resources

IAPMO IAPMO Group Standards and Codes Related to COVID-19 Mitigation

IAPMO and ASSE standards and codes support the services essential to responding to COVID-19 and include performance and installation requirements for plumbing and mechanical systems. IAPMO has made these documents freely available to enhance the public understanding of how the proper functioning of plumbing and mechanical systems protects health.

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PURDUE University Center for Plumbing Safety

This website is designed to provide information to persons who drink water in buildings, as well as building construction, plumbing, water utility, education, and public health sectors. Together, we are working to understand how to make certain the water you use at home, at work, and at schools is safe.

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ASHRAE

ASHRAE Position Document on Airborne Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases spread by several different routes.Tuberculosis and in some cases influenza, the common cold, and other diseases spread by the airborne route. The spread can be accelerated or controlled by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, for which ASHRAE is the global leader and foremost source of technical and educational information.

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UA

Guidelines to Protect Workers Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Potential Infectious Materials (OPIM) in Plumbing and HVAC Systems

The disease is spread by close person-to-person contact. It usually occurs from a cough, sneeze, or when someone exhales. This releases infected droplets that can get into another’s mouth, nose, or lungs. Courtesy of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada with input from ASSE International and Scott Hamilton.

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IAPMO

Tips and Recommendations for the Safe and Efficient Flushing of Plumbing Systems in Buildings

As places of business and assembly that have been shut down for many weeks begin to reopen, one of the first things that facility managers, building superintendents, maintenance crews, and business owners should attend to is the safety of building water systems. All water systems in buildings that have been vacant or sparsely utilized for weeks or months must, at a minimum, be flushed prior to being put back into service such that the stagnant water is safely discharged into the building sanitary system and replaced with fresh utility water. The following tips and recommendations will help with conducting the flushing process in a safe and efficient manner.

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IAPMO Webinar FREE COVID-19 Webinar Series

This free series of webinars is being presented to provide useful, practical information in an effort assist in the safe reopening of buildings as COVID-19 “stay-at-home” restrictions are eased. The series is designed to provide jurisdictions, health departments, building owners and managers, and contractors with detailed information and guidance on reopening the various building types.

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FREE WEBINAR: After COVID-19: How Jurisdictions Can Safely Reopen Buildings In Their Communities

Presenters:
• Dr. Janet Stout, Special Pathogens Laboratory President and CEO
• Thomas Bigley, Chairman of the World Plumbing Council/UA Director of Plumbing Services
• Dain Hansen, Executive Vice President of Government Relations at The IAPMO Group

Description: This webinar is designed to advise jurisdictions, health departments, building owners and managers, as well as contractors on how to begin to safely open buildings that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry-leading panelists from the plumbing and health industries will discuss the risks of bringing plumbing systems back online due to the altered use over the last few months of the pandemic and the general actions that can be taken to mitigate those. The presentation will also provide an update on government efforts and resources to support the industry and businesses during this time. In addition, the panel will provide recommendations that can be followed to ensure successful and safe openings of these buildings and what conditions warrant the services of a qualified professional.

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FREE WEBINAR: After COVID-19: Reopening Health-care Facilities

Presenters:
• Steve Hart, Northwest Washington IAPMO Chapter Chairman
• Jed Scheuermann, Vice President of Field Services at The IAPMO Group
• Scott Hamilton, Senior Director at ASSE International

Description: This webinar will present best practices and practical procedures that should be followed to open buildings such as hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices, general doctor offices, and other similar facilities that have been closed or seen a significant reduction in use during the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel of industry experts will identify the specific plumbing systems and considerations unique to health-care facilities that should be evaluated and the available options for mitigating infection risks as the building reopens. The panel will also discuss the need for developing a water management plan, which qualified professionals may assist, and the role of plumbing codes and other important industry standards as they relate to reducing the risk of transmission of pathogens in health-care facilities.

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FREE WEBINAR: After COVID-19: Reopening Food and Beverage Producing and Servicing Establishments

Presenters:
• Scott Hamilton, Senior Director at ASSE International
• Laura Ceja, UA Education and Training Specialist
• Rich Benkowski, UA Education and Training Specialist
• Randy Lorge, Director of Workforce Training and Development at The IAPMO Group

Description: This webinar will provide insight regarding the steps and considerations to safely open buildings such as restaurants, cafeterias, bars, breweries, and other similar facilities that have been closed during mandated shutdowns. These establishments have systems and concerns that are unique and require specialized considerations. Industry experts will identify these unique systems and areas of concern within the building’s plumbing infrastructure that should be evaluated and the options available to assist in safely beginning the reopening process. The panel will also discuss what jurisdictions and building owners can do compared to which mitigation efforts competent professionals must undertake. The development of water management plans and important, relevant industry standards will also be discussed.

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Legionella Risk Management COVID-19 and Legionella – Preparations to consider for Municipal and Building Potable Water Systems

This white paper gives an in-depth overview of the issues associated with idle building water system as a result of COVID-19. This paper gives more specific direction to those involved in post COVID-19 idle building water system restarting and how to minimize the impact.

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Stagnation

Considerations for Large Building Water Quality After Extended Stagnation

Starting in late 2019, the global onset of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) prompted “stay-at-home” advisories and orders in the U.S. These government actions addressed closing non-essential businesses and other organizations (e.g., education, event, worship, recreation, office, and retail buildings). With more than 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S., the shutdowns significantly altered drinking water demand patterns at both the water distribution and building system levels.

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Bathrooms

Caution Recommended When Using Public Bathrooms

A recent study from China has indicated that COVID-19 has been found in the feces of some infected people. The study involved 73 patients that were hospitalized for COVID-19 in early February and had their feces tested for the presence of the 2019-nCoV virus. Feces from 39 of the patients tested positive for the virus even after swabs from the nose and throat of those patients tested negative. The results raise concerns that the virus can also be spread through the digestive tract.

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Disinfect

COVID-19: Best Practices On Deep Cleaning And Disinfecting During A Facility Closure

s many facilities across the country are shutting down to contain the potential spread of COVID-19 or as a result of community spread outbreak, some may be thinking about or have started the deep cleaning process. Here are some tips and best practices on deep cleaning and disinfecting a facility during a closure.

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Plumbers

Understanding Coronavirus Exposure for Plumbing Professionals

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) started monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus, which ultimately was named COVID-19. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. This paper is intended to provide practical guidance for plumbing professionals who work on sanitary waste and sewer systems on how to protect themselves, their loved ones and their coworkers during the current pandemic.

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus in Plumbing Systems: How did the outbreak Occur in Hong Kong and is there a risk in North America?

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) started monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus, which ultimately was named COVID-19. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. This paper is intended to provide practical guidance for plumbing professionals who work on sanitary waste and sewer systems on how to protect themselves, their loved ones and their coworkers during the current pandemic.

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Industry Letters

Congress

IAPMO Implores Congressional Leaders to Support Associations and Professional Trade Organizations in Future COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Continuing its stalwart advocacy on Capitol Hill on behalf of workers and businesses in the water/wastewater/plumbing industry and the health and safety of the millions of Americans they protect, IAPMO has again written to leaders in both houses of Congress with a list of recommendations a future stimulus bill should include.

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Letter IAPMO’s Letter to Congress

As America confronts COVID-19, it is critical that any fiscal and economic response to help businesses survive the crisis match the scale and intensity of the steps being taken to end the pandemic. Efforts to slow the spread of the disease are unprecedented, as is the speed and severity of the economic collapse they have precipitated.

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Governors

IAPMO Letter to Nation’s Governors Association

As a trade association, we believe it vital to offer our support and assistance during this time of national crisis with the novel coronavirus (or COVID-19). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has listed plumbers and water/wastewater sectors as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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