Case Study – Physical Distancing
Karen is an electrician who owns a small business specialising in domestic electrical work. She has recently taken on a new apprentice, Bob. Karen knows she has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of Bob, herself and others at the workplace.
Because their work is continuing during COVID-19, Karen talked to Bob about the importance of minimising the risk of spreading the virus, particularly by regularly washing their hands, using the appropriate PPE for the task and maintaining physical distancing where possible.
Karen has also looked at Safe Work Australia’s guidance for in-home service providers. For each job, she speaks to her clients about the steps they are taking to prevent spreading COVID-19 while Karen and Bob are in the client’s home.
As a relatively new apprentice, Bob is concerned about how to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from Karen while having her supervise his work in the roof cavity. To help with this, Karen developed a work plan with Bob to make sure they would have enough room to work and maintain a safe distance.
This workplan includes:
- Anchoring the ladder at the entrance to the roof cavity and entering separately, so Bob can move away from the entrance before Karen comes up.
- Bob and Karen take their own tools into the roof space and do not share.
- Bob does not undertake any work while Karen is not present, for example if she needs to get tools from the van. In these cases, Bob will exit the roof cavity and wait at the bottom of the ladder for Karen to return.
- After they finish their work, they wipe down all the surfaces they have touched with antibacterial wipes; including the equipment, door handles, ladders and other surfaces. They thoroughly wash their hands.
Karen knows that work might take a bit longer than usual because of the extra precautions, so she has allowed additional time in their work schedule.
Karen and Bob go over the plan before commencing each task to ensure they both understand their roles and to make sure the plan is working effectively.
As Karen and Bob will not be working as close to each other as they are used to, they also agree to regularly check-in about what they are each doing. This means Karen will know when to inspect Bob’s work and provide him with advice when he needs it.