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Trade worker safety amid pandemic

When you think of a frontline worker in this pandemic, you often think healthcare workers, but...
When you think of a frontline worker in this pandemic, you often think healthcare workers, but there is one essential industry you may not think about.(WEAU)
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 5:44 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - When you think of a frontline worker in this pandemic, you often think healthcare workers, but there is one industry you may not think about.

“Our guys have to walk into homes sometimes where people aren’t even stating that they may be COVID positive,” says Wiersgalla Heating and Plumbing Co-owner Dan Wiersgalla.

Like many professions, trade jobs like plumbers and electricians have been working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one.

“We were considered an essential business so we still had to go into people’s homes, obviously they need our services if their water heater is not working, heats not working,” says Hurlburt Heating and Plumbing Senior Service Advisor Andrew Evanoff.

Evanoff says working in the pandemic has led to extra precautions to protect the safety of both the worker and the homeowner.

“Face coverings, we do wear gloves when we go into the home when we’re handling tools and touching different parts of people’s houses so we’re not leaving any contaminants behind,” he says.

Even with the extra precautions, Evanoff says there is still a heightened sense of anxiety when he is on the job.

“I have a newborn at home so I try to be extra cautious,” he says. “It’s always in the back of your mind but at the end of the day, we’re out here to serve the community.”

“It’s a daily, hourly anxiety level that you know they could be bringing it home to their family and not even know it for several days,” Wiersgalla says. “Fortunately none of our service personnel have been infected yet.”

Wiersgalla says another thing they are doing to protect the safety of their employees, is asking COVID-19 screening questions before they go into someone’s home.

“There is a lot of risk, our guys are extremely careful, we try to ask the right questions when we get to the door,” he says.

With more people staying home during this time, Evanoff says business has been good.

“The volume of service calls and new installs has increased just with everyone spending time at home they’re a lot more cautious like ok, that furnace has been making sounds. The more people are using things, the more chances they will break down.”

Even with an increase in business, Wiersgalla says he can’t wait for the day we can put this pandemic behind us.

“There’s really a lot of a burden that has been put on the average service tech in any industry.”

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