Field service practices that address COVID-19

Despite stay-at-home orders being issued in some states in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some manufacturing facilities remain open to allow manufacturers to produce essential medical devices and parts for the defense industry.
Mar 24, 2020

Despite stay-at-home orders being issued in some states in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some manufacturing facilities remain open to allow manufacturers to produce essential medical devices and parts for the defense industry.

We have surveyed AMT’s Global Service Committee to provide our members with best-practice guidelines for your service personnel who need to work in the field to ensure production uptime. These guidelines should be further reviewed against CDC, federal, state, and local rules and guidelines. 

First and foremost, your field service technicians and engineers should monitor their own health by taking their temperature frequently. Whenever entering customer facilities, they must adhere to customer requests for on-site temperature monitoring of all personnel entering their plant. 

Most AMT members have prohibited personnel travel by air. All service requests should be reviewed for criticality and remediated remotely if possible. All customer visits must be cleared in advance by the highest level of service management in any organization. Field service personnel should be willing and agree to visit a customer location. The customer must provide their COVID-19 mitigation policies prior to a customer visit.

In addition, your company and field service personnel should:

  • Practice social distancing, regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, mouth, eyes, etc. These are proven, effective steps that you have likely heard many times now.

  • When coughing or sneezing, be sure to do so into your elbow or tissue, then properly dispose of that tissue.

  • Have supplies of nitrile gloves and sanitized hand wipes. Your company should create a plan to ensure that you are providing every service engineer with nitrile gloves and sanitized hand wipes. 

  • Each service engineer should be given two orange safety cones to put around their work area while at the customer’s location with a sign to insert at the top of the cone. The sign can read:

Thank You! For keeping a 6 foot Social/work distance. [Your Company Name]

  • Send an email to the customer about social distancing. This will put everyone at ease and be appreciated by your customers. Here is a sample email:

Dear Customer,

A [Your Company Name] service engineer will soon be visiting your facility. Due to the current CDC recommendations in response to COVID-19 concerns, we kindly ask that safe social distancing is practiced. Please allow six feet of space between the service engineer and your personnel. We want to do our part to keep our employees – and yours – healthy and productive.

Thank you for respecting this request and sharing it with your employees.

Whenever possible, utilize virtual service offerings. Connect your service technicians remotely with your customer's on-site maintenance staff to diagnose and resolve service issues via mobile device or application. This will enable your personnel to coach and direct an on-site mechanic leveraging voice and even video or augmented reality if you have such an application. Remote diagnostics will allow you to verify the repair and maintain the warranty status of your machines and parts.

Additional specific guidance for the field service technician to practice before, during, and after a service visit:

  • Prior to entering and leaving a customer site, disinfect all tools and shared equipment such as pens, tool boxes, tools, etc.

  • Disinfect frequently touched areas of your company vehicle such as its door handles, the steering wheel, etc.

  • Drive alone. When more than one employee is working at the same customer location, use separate vehicles.

  • Bring an extra set of clothing or coveralls to be worn while in customer facilities. Wash after each use.

  • When using additional safety and disinfectant kits, please follow instructions for safe use and disposal.

  • Any documents requiring a signature from the customer must be sent via email. No on-site paperwork is to be exchanged.

  • Diligently log your schedule to track your contact with customers and their employees.

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Author
Greg Jones
Vice President, Smartforce Development
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