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How the COVID-19 coronavirus could impact your plumbing business

Globe wearing a face-mask

How the COVID-19 coronavirus could impact your plumbing business

In light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its arrival in South Africa, the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) took a look at how this can affect your plumbing business.

According to Plumber Magazine, there are a few key areas to focus on when it comes to your plumbing business and the implications of the coronavirus outbreak.

Even though health workers and governments everywhere are working to containing the virus, it has become a pandemic that cannot be ignored.

It is imperative to keep yourself, your family, your employees and your business healthy, therefore, consider these important areas:

Your Supply Chain

There is no need to panic says experts even though supply houses are starting to see a small disruption in parts and fixture availability. Materials originating from Asia and Italy are getting harder to come by as quarantines ramp up. The words “limited availability” are in heavy use. Right now how bad parts and materials supply gets will depend on the length and extent of quarantines around the world. At the moment it isn’t interrupting any supply chains critical to operations.

Risk Management Ideas:

  1. Call your supply reps and talk to them about concerns they think may happen.
  2. Be proactive about big projects where supply limits mid-stream could cause problems.
  3. Manage customers’ expectations and warn them that delays are possible.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute to restock disposable PPE items like gloves and Tyvek suits.

The Impact on the Workforce

When your plumbers don’t come to work, business doesn’t get done. This is an area where it is best not to take risks, though. Better to have one employee out than force the entire company to shut down and cause a community crisis.

If an employee isn’t feeling well, rather let them stay home.

Risk Management Ideas:

  1. Send symptomatic workers home immediately. If they have a fever, cough, or are experiencing shortness of breath, encourage them to get tested for the coronavirus.
  2. Discourage workers from offering handshakes until the threat has passed.
  3. Encourage the use of gloves, sanitizers, and other PPE that offers protection from germs.
  4. Keep your distance. It has been noted that most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person to person happens among close contact (within 6 feet).
  5. Also, in addition to following the rules and regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, it is recommended that employers adopt contingency plans or alternative working arrangements for employees by consulting with its employees about the virus and communicating with its employees regarding the measures the employer will put in place to secure the working environment against the infiltration of the virus and its employees becoming infected.

A Shift in Demand

Restaurants and event venues are being hit hard as people stay home. Some workplaces are even encouraging employees to work from home. That might cause a slight shift in demand for your services, creating more residential than commercial calls.

Risk Management Ideas:

  1. If people in your area are being encouraged to work from home, use social media to let people know if you have openings. They may take care of nagging maintenance and low-priority plumbing jobs while they are working from home.
  2. Don’t make public jokes about the virus, even if you think it is being over-hyped. Train employees to take customers’ concerns seriously.
  3. This isn’t a bad time to promote “touch-free” upgrades. People are really worried about germs

The Importance of Proper Plumbing Design and Practise

It’s said that ‘the plumber protects the nation’ is more than just a slogan (read more about the COVID-19 coronavirus through wastewater and sewer systems over here). Improper deviations to building plumbing systems can, and indeed often do, result in very significant loss of life and property.

It is said that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreaks illustrate the importance of proper plumbing design and practice in keeping building residents safe from disease and the profound problems that can develop when unqualified. On that note, make sure to keep yourself, your business and your employees safe.

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