Many Michigan businesses that have returned to work amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have adopted strict safety procedures to ensure a safe working environment that protects the health of both employees and customers. Michigan Saves authorized contractors are no exception.

During this critical time, we and our authorized contractors — who perform important energy- and money-saving efficiency projects for the state’s energy consumers — have been on hand to support our partners and customers. We recognize that a public health emergency doesn’t erase the need for essential energy upgrades or the financing Michiganders rely on to afford them. That’s why, as the situation with COVID-19 has continued to evolve, so has our response to ensure we’re serving our customers’ energy needs and safeguarding public health.

The following are just a handful of practices some of our authorized contractors are following to help ensure safe work environments in customers’ homes and businesses in these uncertain times.

Safety first

Behind the scenes, contractor teams have equipped themselves with ample supplies of the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks and gloves, to reduce risk of exposure and virus spread. In fact, companies like Thornton & Grooms meticulously inventory their supplies to ensure they always have at least three months’ worth of PPE on hand for any job. They and other contractors train regularly on how to safely perform energy-related installations in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and other federal and state public health entities to ensure occupational safety and health. This includes following safety programs on maintaining social distancing, sanitizing equipment for jobs requiring two or more people and cleaning and disinfecting after a project has been completed. And just as important, they are clear about conveying and demonstrating these procedures to customers before they get to work. While contractors may have an office they operate out of, their typical workspace is that of their customers’ homes or businesses, which means workplace safety is paramount not just to protect staff, but their customers, too.

ppe equipment

Communication is key

As Cameron Seely of Walker-Miller Energy Services said during a recent webinar Michigan Saves held on workplace safety best practices, “Safety is synonymous with communication.” This rings true for communication between workers and employers, as well as dialogue between staff and customers.

For Julian Scadden, Nexstar Network’s VP of operations, his company’s contractors ensure they put on fresh PPE directly in front of the customer before even setting foot in that person’s home. Rather than approach the front door with their gear already on, they outfit themselves with a new pair of gloves, a face mask and sanitized shoe covers at a safe distance from the client. This idea of both showing and telling the customer what steps will be followed helps give greater peace of mind when an individual allows a contractor to enter their home or business.

This clear communication continues within contractor teams daily, where staff hold pre- and postshift check-ins to share important guidance and updates and do screenings to check for symptoms of COVID-19. Should an employee or a customer exhibit signs of the virus, such as fever, coughing or sneezing, the project will be rescheduled for a more appropriate time.

Hand giving thumbs up in a latex glove

Going virtual

As many of us have learned throughout this pandemic, meeting or consulting in person isn’t always necessary. In fact, a lot of work and tasks can be accomplished virtually. That’s why many Michigan Saves contractors have put careful thought into transforming in-person consultations to virtual ones whenever possible. For Schaafsma Heating and Cooling, this includes utilizing virtual service diagnostics where possible and providing a digital instructional video in customers’ invoices after completing an installation. These simple changes allow the customer to receive important services and information while avoiding the increased risk associated with in-person contact for both parties.

Virtual meeting

Peace of mind

The work of Michigan Saves authorized contractors is essential. Folks with an immediate need for an energy upgrade deserve prompt service and the peace of mind that work can be done in a safe manner. Michiganders’ health, safety and comfort matters now more than ever, which is why we and our contractor network remain at the ready to help implement energy solutions that support their well-being and minimize expenses now and into the future. Find your contractor today to get started.

A contractor wearing safety equipment and working on insulation in an attic.