What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
What is COVID-19?
A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a coronavirus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.
How can you get COVID-19?
Since this novel coronavirus was only recently identified, there is currently limited information regarding the modes of transmission, clinical features and severity of disease. Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
What are the signs and symptoms?
There is limited information regarding clinical features, and severity of disease at this stage. For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Symptoms can include:
Shortness of breath.
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
Treatment is supportive as no specific therapy has been shown to be effective. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare providers immediately.
How can you reduce the risk of exposure?
There are certain steps you can take to reduce your exposure to COVID-19:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Cover your mouth and nose with your flexed elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home when you are sick.
Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
Seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
When visiting animal markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
Avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
Avoid travel if you have a fever and cough. If you become sick while using public transport, inform the personnel and seek medical care early.
COVID-19 and Plumbers
Since there is little known about the current COVID-19 outbreak, the need for vigilant exposure awareness is crucial, especially to those working in areas that pose an immediate threat to this exposure.
So what can you do as a plumber who will work in areas that may contain or have the potential to contain the COVID-19 virus?
Start by ensuring you have the necessary protections against any type of virus or pathogen you may encounter, such as when working in a sewer or waste pipelines. The need to know the environment and area you are working in then, is of vital importance.
SAFETY FOR PLUMBERS – WASTE PIPES / SEWERS
These areas can be particularly dangerous to your health due to the exposure or potential exposure to hazardous chemical substances or hazardous biological agents and COVID-19
If you are unsure about the atmosphere or area you are going to work in, ensure the facts are checked and proper monitoring has been done prior to accessing the area.
You must follow all precautions before entering a space that has the potential to expose you to hazardous elements such as COVID-19.
If you are working with a waste pipe and will use certain chemicals or substances then follow these tips:
Eliminate - remove the risk altogether if this is at all possible.
Substitute - find a safer substitute e.g. such as a different working method.
Safeguard - put technical solutions in place that protect the worker e.g. mechanical ventilation, machinery guards, remote controls etc.
Warn and Educate - implement worker training and install suitable alarm and warning systems.
*Always ensure fresh air is pumped into the area.
It is important to care for your hygeine while working in these ares and where there is a risk to exposure to COVID-19. Thus you must set asside time for the proper care of yourself and the tools, equipment and PPE you are using.
Here are some guidelines to follow when working in an area where COVID-19 is a possible exposure:
Wash your hands regularly and follow the guidance and technique set out for correct hand cleaning methods. Perhaps carry around some hand sanitiser in your toolbox if you cannot get to an area where hand soap is available.
Keep tools and equipment clean, especially after using them. Try not to share tools or equipment where possible to eliminate the possibility of cross contamination.
When cleaning or washing your PPE, be sure to keep it away from other clothing or personal household items and store them in a clean area away from the elements such as rain, dirt or sun.
If you feel sick or know of someone in your team is feeling sick, report it as soon as possible and get the needed medical attention required.
Personal Protective Equipment
PPE – Personal Protective Equipment is important for any task that is performed where there is a potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
When we look at the COVID-19 virus, we should not think that just because we know little about the virus, its symptoms or even how to prevent it, that we cannot protect ourselves and those who may be affected by our tasks.
Treat any and all potential areas with the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a Hazardous Environment and plan accordingly. Ensure you have the correct PPE to prevent the exposure levels.
The incorrect specification of protective gear risks putting personnel in danger and at the very least will negatively affect their productivity. To complicate matters, some of the risks that are presented by certain COVID-19 are not necessarily immediately apparent. The consequences of exposure to these can manifest themselves several years down the line, long after the point of encounter.
So great care must be exercised in the specification of suitable workwear against known or anticipated risks. The use of PPE (unless mandatory) must be dictated by the risk assessment for the activity or environment concerned and this must include giving due consideration to the crucial issue of user comfort. PPE that is difficult to put on or take off, that is uncomfortable to wear, that prevents or limits movement or unduly restricts work activities will always meet user resistance. Selecting user-acceptable PPE can be every bit as important as, and even more difficult than, selecting the appropriate technical specification.
While PPE should only be relied upon as a last line of defence, its use is essential when working where exposure to COVID-19.
It must always be remembered that PPE only protects the individual wearer, it does not tackle the cause of the risk exposure. It is important that all possibilities of removing the hazard altogether are exhausted before considering ways of limiting operator exposure.
What type of PPE should I get?
Safety Goggles – Ones that cover the eyes and to protect eyes from splashes of human waste or sewage.. 3m GoggleGear 500 is the type mostly recommended as they have a Scotchguard Anti-Fog application for best control. Look for something similar to this.
Safety Shoes – When selecting safety shoes or boots, it is best done by understanding what you will be standing or walking though. In a sewer you will preferably be looking for Rubber boots to prevent exposure to human waste or sewage. – Look out for something like the Stimela XP from Pienaar Bro’s.
Protective face mask or splash-proof face shield - N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks) are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.
Liquid-repellent coveralls - to keep human waste or sewage off clothing. Look for a Tyvek disposable or reusable suite depending on the amount of exposure times.
Waterproof gloves – Latex or Nitrile gloves. These thin, moisture resistant gloves protect against exposure to infectious, and other biologically hazardous materials.
Neither IOPSA nor OHSS Consulting are experts on the COVID-19 virus and are not Expert Health practitioners.
The information contained in this statement has been researched by OHSS Consulting using industry standards, as well as current know information regarding the COVID-19 virus and may change at any time.
Please take care to look after the Health and Safety of yourself, your team and those who may be affected by your scope of work.
Please find some additional information by following these links:
Thank you for taking the time to read this statement.
IOPSA & The OHSS Consulting Team
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PREVENTION POSTER FOR YOUR OFFICE
IOPSA will investigate a complaint – it receives on average 11 a week – and the cost of this service is free of charge if the plumbing company is an IOPSA member.
The procedure on submitting a complaint is to complete the online IOPSA complaints form, in which case the consumer will be required to do the following:
• Understand the complaints procedure – which can be downloaded on the IOPSA website.
• Be willing and able to allow the member of institute named to be present at any inspections carried out by the IOPSA.
• Agree to arrange access for such inspections if required to do so.
• Be willing and able to allow the member of the institute named reasonable access to carry out any necessary remedial works.
• To the best of their knowledge, to confirm the details given on the form are complete and correct, and request IOPSA to investigate the complaint.
In fact, many people opt as their first action to telephone IOPSA, in which case they will be put in touch with Celmarie Smit, National Membership Administrator, who will instruct them as above. Having worked some years for a plumbing firm in Mossel Bay, she is familiar with the types of problems that typically arise, assisting her to filter complaints to the relevant IOPSA people.
“It is important to note that IOPSA does not get involved in issues relating to pricing: that is a contractual issue between the consumer and the plumber and beyond our scope. We only get involved in issues relating to the quality of service, technical performance and the issuing of Certificates of Compliance (CoCs),” says Smit.
“Thereafter it will be referred to a technical IOPSA person who will in most instances send an inspector to assess whether there is validity to the complaint. Based on those findings, the plumber will be called upon to take remedial action if needed.”
Smit points out that it is essential that the person answering the phone has an understanding of plumbing issues, and is at least bilingual. Most callers rarely state they are ‘lodging a complaint’ but rather give an in-depth description of their total experience with a plumber.
IOPSA Executive Director Brendan Reynolds explains that the association will pursue complaints lodged even against plumbers who are not members of IOPSA. Its recourse in this instance is more limited, though it does on occasion take a problem all the way to court where it acts as an expert witness, although the complainant has to bear the costs.
IOPSA takes an impartial view of complaints, with Reynolds noting that from its records in half the cases the plumber is not at fault but rather the consumer – or there can be other factors. “We sometimes find nothing wrong with the plumbing when we send out an inspector; and we also find cases where the plumber has done his/her job perfectly, but which for some unrelated reason has affected water pressure somewhere else on the property. We also commonly have cases where the consumer refuses to pay, and then it becomes difficult to persuade the plumber to either finish a job or take remedial action. Disputes can become highly-charged and emotional on both sides.”
IOPSA’s focus is at all times to have positive outcomes from what can otherwise be a negative experience. “There’s no doubt there are some unqualified people posing as Licensed Plumbers, and this brings the entire profession into disrepute. Through this process, we aim to improve the reputation of the industry, while getting consumers to understand the value in using an IOPSA member. Most plumbers, once their defective work is pointed out to them by a suitably trained inspector, are also prepared to learn from the experience and effect correction to their faulty workmanship,” says Reynolds.
Bianca Quinn, IOPSA Complaints and Inspections Manager, says, “The bulk of complaints are to do with workmanship, pricing and both CoCs and Municipal Certificates of Compliance. Clients often fail to obtain three quotations and frequently Google search a plumber in an emergency – isolate the water, then make a conscious decision as to service provider by searching IOPSA’s find-a-plumber tool. IOPSA does not have the jurisdiction over municipal complaints, nor pricing matters.
“Consumers are often treated unethically by un-registered plumbers, and with little to no recourse this becomes a challenge. In many instances, there is nothing in writing and a ‘he-said, she-said’ scenario unfolds.”
Quinn explains that complaints are directed by IOPSA’s national office to the complaints administrator (herself) for guidance and best resolution. “Should there be a valid complaint, the forms and supporting evidence are submitted to the Complaints Portal online, whereby a ticket is generated. Thereafter an inspector from the regional committee is appointed by myself. Once the inspector has reviewed the complaint, they shall establish whether an inspection is necessitated. The inspector then contacts the parties to obtain clarity and mediate, which is preceded by the site inspection.
“Consumers and even plumbers contact the complaints office telephonically daily and after discussion with either the National Operations Manager, Steve Brown, or myself – are typically extremely thankful for the guidance in not only their current experience, but also going forward. The complaints office handle all aspects and we are so deeply entrenched within Industry that we are equipped to guide consumers and plumbers in the right path no matter the query,” says Quinn.
With the advent of the IOPSA Transformation Policy a new complaint category was recently activated; complaints relating to discrimination. These complaints will be investigated and dealt with by the Transformation Committee. Anyone who has experienced discrimination is welcome to lodge a formal complaint with IOPSA.
You can lodge a complaint on www.iopsa.org
By Eamonn Ryan
IOPSA Membership Fees: 01 March 2020 to 28 February 2021
Please find below the membership fees for the Plumbing Contractor Membership Category in respect of the March 2020 to February 2021 Financial Year (incl. 15% VAT).
The invoice will be generated from Intuit Quickbooks on 01 March 2020 as follows:
Plumbing Contractor (Regional Annual) - R5486
Plumbing Contractor (National Annual) - R19 659
However, we are pleased to inform you that a discount will apply as follows:
5% DISCOUNT - MEMBERSHIP FEE RENEWAL AND FULL ANNUAL PAYMENT RECEIVED BEFORE 31 MARCH 2020
10% DISCOUNT - MEMBERSHIP FEE RENEWAL AND FULL ANNUAL PAYMENT RECEIVED BEFORE THE 31ST OF MARCH 2020 AND B-BBEE CERTIFICATE SUBMITTED TO firstname.lastname@example.org
The discount options will show on the invoice as well. If you do not receive an invoice, please inform the National Office, 011 454 0025, alternatively email@example.com
NB! NO DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR PAYMENTS RECEIVED AFTER 31 MARCH 2020.
1. Membership fees are due 01 March yearly.
2. Membership is confirmed once payment is received.
3. In the event of cancelling your membership, members must inform the National Office, in writing, one month prior to the new financial year (end of February). Should you cancel your membership during the financial year, you will be liable for outstanding membership fees and membership fees in respect of the remainder of the financial year.
Click here to download the formal notice
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the IOPSA National Office 011 454 0025, alternatively firstname.lastname@example.org
The Institute of Plumbing SA (IOPSA) and Builders Warehouse are excited to bring all IOPSA members a new and exciting benefit!
Exclusive to IOPSA members, Builders Warehouse is offering a Global Builders Warehouse discount of 5% to all IOPSA members on any of their purchases from any Builders Warehouse store!
Each member will receive a Builders PRO Card when opening a profile with Builders Warehouse ONLINE and receive 15% off on their first online purchase.
So how do I get my discount?
Go to the Builders website and sign up here: https://www.builders.co.za/register
Fill in all personal information and COMPANY NAME (this is used to verify your membership with IOPSA)
Accept T&C’s and sign up.
You will receive an SMS with an activation link, click on the link, you will then be required to create a password to activate the company profile (more than one card can be register for all the different users on the company profile). You will then receive a second SMS with the profile number, once you have received that number the profile is now active.
Members are required to email their profile code to email@example.com for verification and activation. All discounts will be loaded to your company profile within 48 hours of receiving the profile code and the member will be notified.
You can now shop online and collect your Builders Pro Card at any Builders Warehouse near you!
Should you have any difficulty in registering online please contact Buhle Mahungela on 010 003 4900
For the full Terms and Conditions, click here https://www.builders.co.za/love-your-home-competition
We resume our consumer pieces with good wishes to you and your families for 2020.
It is no secret that economically each of us is under huge pressure. Our government is stymied as how to handle our woes and rubbish continues to reach our shores and stores courtesy of Department of Trade & Industry. Couple that with an alarming increase in people claiming to do plumbing and plumbers whose work is not to build a business but just to live on a day to day basis by offering cut throat prices.
It is just not sustainable and the consumer is the one that gets caught up in the cheap and nasty product and installation cycle.
OK, new Year’s resolutions are a crock but commit to one thing this year, buy good, approved and long lasting product and use qualified plumbers, some of whom are members of the Institute of Plumbing and some registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board. It will cost more but by doing it this way you protect your family, you buy well and long lasting product and services and gain a trouble free life.
So how come if things are so tight can you afford to pay more. Simple, start from now – save some cash for the unexpected, the emergency fund. We know that blocked drains and burst pipes do not give notice they are going block or burst and if unprepared financially that is where the trouble starts. Remember we spoke of risk management sometime last year. This is now another form of risk management – manage the unexpected and you can then know you are getting a job done properly.
Price just cannot be king anymore only QUALITY!
1. Have Numbers of Emergency Plumbers on speed dial
Firstly, find numbers of three local, IOPSA registered plumbers that are offering call outs over Christmas. This exercise doesn’t pre-empt an emergency, but simply helps you be prepared should you find yourself in a crappy situation (pun intended).
2. Supply a bin in the bathroom
Make sure all toilets have a bin so that guests can dispose of sanitary items. If you don’t offer a bin, guess where your guests will place their items? Prevent a blockage by providing a bin so guests can dispose of unwanted items discreetly.
3. Use your sink strainer when rinsing plates
If you have an old sink, sink strainers can be purchased from a homeware store. Alternatively, place your colander over the sink waste and it will catch the food that you rinse off your plates. Place these scraps into the bin.
4. Don’t pour fats down the sink
Don’t pour fats or oils down your sink as they have the potential to clog your pipes. Place the trays in a place where the oils and fats can solidify and then scrape them into the bin.
5. Check your storm water drain
Check outside that your storm water drain is not covered up by leaves or kids toys. An open storm water drain will allow the water to drain from our property easily, rather than flooding your property
6. Locate where to turn the water off to your house
Get knowledgeable about where to turn your water off to your house. In the event of unexpected leak, turn off the water at the meter and contact an IOPSA Registered plumber.
8. Buy a plunger
Keep a plunger on hand for simple blockages. A plunger is best for all circumstances.
Keep the toilets well stocked with toilet rolls, a toilet brush, toilet spray, toilet cleaner and a diffuser to camouflage any smells.
With that said, we hope you all have the most amazing Christmas Day with your family and friends. If the unexpected happens, just go with the flow and remember you will most likely laugh about it next Christmas.
Find an IOPSA Registered plumber on www.iopsa.org.za
The Institute of Plumbing SA (IOPSA) has excitedly announced a new benefit for their members!
IOPSA has come to an agreement with Rademeyer Attorneys where they have agreed to offer all IOPSA members their first legal consultation (up to one hour) absolutley FREE! All that IOPSA members need to do in order to take advantage of this amazing offer is to make contact with Rademeyer Attorneys directly and book their appointment.
You can contact them on 011 886 3001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unsure of what legal services they offer, feel free to have a look at their website www.rademeyer.co.za
The Master Plumber Designation is intended to provide a career progression pathway for professionals within the plumbing industry. The curriculum is targeted primarily at plumbing business owners or plumbers with business responsibility in their organisation. The intention of the Master Plumber designation is to recognise people who are experts in their field, upskill them in areas they may not have had an opportunity to have formal training on previously, and develop them as leaders and role models for the industry. Master candidates are technically excellent already, and this is their opportunity to round out their technical knowledge with additional key skills to help them succeed in all areas of business. As part of this designation, we aim to build a culture of learning and development within the industry, both by providing this opportunity for Masters to continue to upskill themselves, and by equipping them with training and mentoring skills so that they can continue to develop others.
While this course does cover a variety of skills (largely non-technical), it is focused more on application in the real world than on learning theory. The intention of this course is to give Masters an opportunity to consolidate and solidify the knowledge they may have learnt along the way into clear and useful frameworks that they can easily apply in their day to day.
Master Plumbers are intended to be role models, teachers and custodians of the industry, and this course ensures that they play that role effectively and in a well-rounded manner.
In order to get the Master Plumber Programme started, IOPSA and PIRB are providing a financial incentive for an initial cohort of candidates to go through a pilot programme.
The right to offer the Master Plumber Programme to this initial cohort will be awarded to the successful respondent to this RFP.
Click here to Download the RFP
Click here to Download the Curriculum
Running a plumbing business has its unique challenges. Unlike other industries that can target a specific audience or rely on seasonal upticks, you need to reach two distinct markets all year round:
1. The panicked customer with a burst pipe or other emergency who needs to find a nearby plumber ASAP
2. The routine maintenance or install customer, who takes their time to research and compare plumbing companies to find the best fit for their project
To grow your plumbing business, you need marketing strategies to address both types of customer, all while competing in a crowded market. We won’t pretend there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is, you can start small and still get great results.
What is the starting point to market my plumbing business?
Online marketing is the best place to start because it’s easy to scale; you can reach a wide audience with little cost and effort. Even if you’re just starting your plumbing business and have little to none experience with digital marketing, you can still get started without having to hire an expensive marketing agency.
So what do I do now?
1. Claim your Google Business listing
Search engines such as Google are the first place emergency call-in customers will go to find help. If you want them to find you, you need to set up your Google my Business listing. Setting up your local listing is easy—all you need is your company name, address, and contact info.
2. Create a plumbing website that converts
The second step to being found online is to beef up your online presence. A professional-looking website will increase your visibility and credibility to help you get more leads. The trick is to keep your plumbing website simple, clean and informative so emergency call-in customers can find the information they need, fast.
3. Set up a Facebook page
A professional Facebook page is another way to be found fast. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook has the most users and the most conversion-friendly features. Plus, it’s free, easy to set up and track.
4. Gather and manage online reviews
Positive online reviews are crucial to growing your plumbing business, you’re entering your customers’ home or business, after all, and often in unpleasant or stressful situations. Before they buy from you, they need to trust you. Plumbing businesses with bad reviews will ultimately work against you.
5. Use call-only ads
Put yourself in your emergency customer’s shoes. They don’t have time to research or fill out web forms—they want to speak to a real person who can help them now. If you’re ready to start advertising, try using call-only online ad campaigns. These ads show up only on people’s smartphones and offer direct click-to-call functionality. This is a simple way to target your ad spend straight at the emergency call-out customer at the exact moment they need your services.
6. Create expert plumbing content
Plumbing is a specialized industry, and most consumers don’t know much—if anything—about it. Help your market feel educated and empowered, and you’ll win their trust and their business. The IOPSA & PIRB websites have a wealth of knowledge that you could use as a starting point for this content.
7. Get more leads with work requests
Unlike emergency customers who want to talk to a plumber right away, the research-phase customer will probably want to send a brief description of their project and find out if you can help. In order to win their business, you need a system to respond quickly and professionally to these requests.
Emails aren’t a very good option because it’s easy for them to be lost in your busy inbox or sent to spam. Instead, give your customers the option to create a work request right from your website or social media page.
8. Use customer service as a marketing tool
Advertising and social media are pieces of the marketing puzzle, but excellent customer service is by far the most effective, cost-efficient, and long-term growth strategy for any plumbing business, providing impeccable customer service will help boost good reviews and testimonials which consumers trust.
9. Align yourself with an organization
Aligning yourself with an organization can help market your business in a multitude of ways. Showing on your platforms that you belong to an industry body helps promote professionalism and trust in your business. These organization’s will also market the use of their members over others such as the Institute of Plumbing SA who currently has over 220 customers searching for a plumber on their system EVERY DAY!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get marketing!
Written by Kaela Wilson
National Marketing Manager - IOPSA
The new National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 2019, recently signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, means prospective students or job seekers could face up to five years in jail for misrepresenting their qualifications. In short you can be prosecuted for saying you are a QUALIFIED Plumber if you do NOT hold a recognized SAQA Plumbing qualification.
Below are a few key points mentioned in the government gazette:
Act No. 12 of 2019: National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act, 2019
32B. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person—
(3) A person is guilty of an offence, if such a person falsely or fraudulently claims to be holding a qualiﬁcation or part-qualiﬁcation registered on the NQF or awarded by an education institution, skills development provider, QC or obtained from a lawfully recognised foreign institution.
(4) Any person, education institution, skills development provider, foreign institution is guilty of an offence if it falsely claims to be registered and accredited as an education institution, skills development provider or foreign institution in terms of the laws of the Republic or foreign law.
(5) If a person, education institution its directors or board, a foreign institution its agents or directors or board, or a skills development provider is convicted of any offence under this Act, the court that imposes the sentence shall consider as an aggravating factor the fact that the offence was—
(a) committed with the intent to gain ﬁnancially, or to receive any favour, beneﬁt, reward, compensation or any other advantage; or
(b) gained ﬁnancially, or received any favour, beneﬁt, reward, compensation or any other advantage.
(6)Any person convicted of an offence in terms of this Act, is liable, in the case of a contravention of sections32B(1),32B(2),32B(3)or32B(4)to a ﬁne or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ﬁve years, or to both a ﬁne and such imprisonment.
For the official government gazette click here
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