Coronavirus - engineers working safely to keep you connected
The work Openreach does is critical, and connecting people has never been more important. Our number one priority is to keep people connected at this time, and we’ve been working closely with our Communications Provider (CP) customers to minimise the impact that the Government’s new restrictions have on the services we can provide.
It will always be our first option to conduct work outside of the home, however, there are types of jobs that will require work in the home. That said, the safety of our people and the public comes first, watch the video below to find out about some of the changes in the type of work we can do, and the way we do it.
Frequently asked questions
For the time being, it’s still our first priority to try and conduct all the work we need to do from outside of your home. But there are some types of jobs, including certain types of provisions and repairs, which do need us to come in to make sure you don’t suffer from a total loss of connection and allow you to stay reliably connected.
To support engineers, and to keep customers as safe as possible, our engineers will:
- Ask a set of screening questions before the visit to check if a customer is ‘high risk’.
- Be provided with relevant PPE and are strongly advised to wear a pair of gloves and a mask when working inside homes. There's nothing to be alarmed about, it's merely a precaution.
- Undergo thorough training to ensure they abide by the latest health and safety guidelines set out by Public Health England, the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Scotland.
- Clean down any surfaces they come into contact with, once they’ve finished their work in the home.
- Conduct a customer handover once the work is complete in person, via Facetime, WhatsApp or phone, to minimise time spent in the home.
Before entering the premises, we'll call you on the day to complete a customer advisory and screening call for urgent provisions and critical repairs. We'll ask questions like:
- Have you or anyone else living here been diagnosed with Coronavirus or been asked to self-isolate?
- Do you or anyone else here have flu-like symptoms?
- Have you or anyone else living here received an NHS letter confirming you’re classified as an extremely vulnerable person?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then we won't enter your home.
If the customer answers “no” to all three questions, and we're unable to complete the job externally, the engineer can proceed to carry out provisions and repairs within your home to make sure you don’t suffer from a total loss of connection and to allow you to stay reliably connected.
The best way to let us know that you’re happy to go ahead is to text 'Rep watched' to +44 7800 008118. If you don’t, or can’t, text this number back for any reason don’t worry. Our engineer will also try to call you just before your appointment. Your text will be charged at your standard operator rate.
If you don't want one of our engineers to enter your home then they won’t. A large amount of the work we do can be completed outside, meaning we can often upgrade people or fix problems without entering your home. However, should they need to enter your home, they'll do everything they can to make sure you feel safe, and comfortable, including calling you before the appointment to talk through what precautions they will be taking.
There are some simple steps you can take in advance of an engineer visit:
- Clear a path to the main telephone socket fibre connection point, if you have one.
- Wipe down surfaces around the telephone socket and any other areas that our engineers may come into contact with an antibacterial or disinfectant wipe
- Open any windows or doors which the engineer will need to access to conduct work.
Whilst our engineer is in your home, it's also important to maintain the social distancing measures which Public Health England has set out.
Where an area has local restrictions in place, we’ll only enter a home for urgent provisions and critical repairs,including the installation of a new line where a customer has a total loss of service. We also won’t work beyond the main telephone socket or fibre connection point in your home, and we won’t be installing extension sockets - to minimise the time we have to spend in your home.