As a field technician, your day usually consists of moving from kitchen to kitchen, often around dirty plates, food waste and large groups of people. On any normal day, these are already potential breeding grounds for spreading germs, but with the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19), your risk is increased. Thankfully, there are some basic safety precautions you can take that will greatly reduce your risk of becoming infected.
Forget what you hear on the 24-hour news cycle or other sources where the information is not always verified or is provided on an entertainment basis – the best source of information regarding the spread of Coronavirus comes from industry groups and government health organizations.
This blog has compiled a list of sources that provide the most reliable information you’ll find. It covers everything from the NRA’s business operations preparedness guide (written for foodservice operators) to OSHA and the CDC.
Take basic precautions
When working in an area where lots of dirty plates full of food scraps, cups, and silverware come together, it is highly recommended to wear basic physical precautions. Rubber or vinyl gloves can be worn under your usual work gloves, especially since most work gloves are actually porous.
If you run the risk of being splashed with dirty water (usually from a dishwasher before the sanitized side), it is recommended to wear a face mask. If one is not available, make sure you work carefully, and ensure no water is sprayed anywhere around your face. Remember – the water coming out of some dishwasher pipes is full of possible contaminants.
Speaking of your face – don’t touch it! One of the most elementary precautions you can take to avoid becoming infected is to prevent the spread of the disease from your hands to your mouth. Keep your hands away from your mouth at all times.
And finally, unless you purchase very specific models, almost none of the readily available face masks will prevent becoming infected.
Wash and sanitize hands *and* tools
As soon as you are done working on a piece of equipment, it is time to sanitize yourself; wash with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Don’t just focus on your hands – after being in contact with potentially dirty water, make sure you wash arms and face as well.
After washing yourself it is now time make sure your tools are also clean. Tools that can handle water are simple to clean, others should be wiped down with (60-90%) isopropyl alcohol spray and/or wipes. Be sure to include your entire toolbox – from the top to the handle(s) and the bottom.
Ideally, clean your tools and carriers outside the restaurant, but before putting them back in your van. This prevents the spread of anything from the restaurant to your van and beyond. Anything that goes in your van that comes from inside the restaurant (usually broken or spare parts) should be placed in their own storage bin.