Home > Andy helps keeps customers gas safe during lockdown
Andy ONeill has been a gas engineer at Halton Housing for 16 years.
Andy carrying out a gas safety check wearing PPE.
Gas engineers are among the many key workers on the frontline delivering essential services during the lockdown period and are responsible for installing, repairing, and servicing gas appliances and gas emergencies in customers’ homes.
Despite the coronavirus crisis, we still had a legal requirement to complete essential gas safety checks. In addition to this, Andy and the Gas Team responded around the clock to emergency breakdowns and repairs throughout lockdown. This included an emergency boiler install for an NHS key worker, as it was deemed essential for in her role on the frontline.
Andy says: “Many people are spending more time at home during lockdown which means our customers are using their gas appliances more than ever, so the work we undertook to keep them safe, and their appliances working was absolutely vital.”
Even in normal times, being a gas engineer is challenging but rewarding. Since coronavirus things have changed dramatically. Andy explains: “The job is always evolving but it has even more so due to the current pandemic. I now carry out a doorstep risk assessment and check customers have no symptoms and advise them I will be wearing appropriate PPE such as a mask and gloves whilst carrying out the work and to respect the social distancing guidelines”.
“At a recent job I attended, an elderly customer was very anxious and was refusing access. I explained to the customer in detail how I would be carrying out the job and explained they could stay in another room or sit in the garden as it was a sunny day. This eased the customers fears and I completed the job successfully. Later that day, my manager informed me personally to explain that the customer had sent a lovely compliment in calling me a “proper gentleman” which gave me huge satisfaction that the work I’m carrying out is much appreciated.”
“Because our job is so customer-facing, you do get some interesting insights into how the country is coping with life under lockdown. For the most part, I’ve found people to be very understanding and welcoming about the whole situation.”
We resumed “new normal” services on Monday 1st June. The safety of our customers and staff still remains our number one priority. Gas engineers are taking extra precautions to ensure both their safety and our customers. Andy says: “We are all following safe systems of work protocols and wearing personal protective equipment and will aim to complete jobs and checks as quickly as possible, keeping the customer informed at all stages. Customers do not even need to be in the same room. We also ensure customers’ homes are left clean and tidy, including sanitising any surfaces touched.”
Customers are asked to notify us if they or anyone in their household has either being diagnosed with Coronavirus, is self-isolating, has any flu-like symptoms, or has any other concerns as to why we should not complete work in their home, before sending an engineer to their home.
Despite this, working in customers’ homes during the coronavirus lockdown period carried many risks. Andy says: “I do sometimes find myself reflecting on the extra risks that the job carries at the moment, especially when I’m back home with my family at the end of a shift. But honestly, I’m still going to go out there every time, to keep people safe. We all feel that sense of duty at Halton Housing.”
It was thanks to the hard work of Andy and our gas engineers that we recently broke our all-time record for gas safety checks in a day, with the team completing a massive 50 checks.
Jon Blackwell, Head of Repairs and Maintenance said “This is a fantastic achievement by any stretch, but in the current circumstances is amazing! We know this is a worrying time but keeping customers safe is our top priority and we would like to thank customers for their part in helping us achieve this.”
If you’re a Halton Housing customer and have any concerns over gas safety, or you wish to change your has servicing appointment, please call our Gas Team on 0151 510 5234 (8:30am – 4:30pm) or email email@example.com.
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