At South Jersey Energy Service Plus (SJESP), our goal is to provide continued comfort to our valued HVAC customers year-round. In doing so, we are also committed to the wellbeing of our service team members, along with those we serve. To this end, we have implemented a number of measures including safety scorecards, fleet tracking solutions, and in this era of COVID-19, service call screening and on-site safety precautions.
Our service technicians are the face of the company, and by this definition, maybe the most important asset we have. With this in mind, and with the knowledge that motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death and injury on and off the job, this is a major concern. There is no doubt that mishaps, whenever they occur, can cause severe economic and emotional consequences for the employee involved, as well as their co-workers, family, and the company. For this reason, we view investing in employee safety and security as critical to our operations.
Using tracking technology and GPS specific parameters, we can evaluate driver performance in real-time. This includes behaviors like hard braking, hard acceleration, extreme cornering, excessive speeding above the posted speed limit, and seat belt utilization. If the individual is driving unsafely according to these metrics, supervisors are immediately notified, and the driver is contacted right away. The technology also monitors vehicle performance for items like a check engine light, engine overheating, and collisions.
All of this information is compiled on a scorecard that ranks driver performance with an overall safety score. These reports are reviewed weekly with employees, and the reports have proven to be beneficial and are shared with the corporate office in order to set company goals for risk assessment. In addition, operating vehicles in a safe manner has provided other cost benefits including fuel savings, minimizing wear and tear on company trucks, insurance savings, and fewer accidents. It is also our belief that modifying driving habits on the job carries over to driving habits off the job.
SJESP technicians are potentially in several homes every day. Because COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus, we are taking several steps to protect all involved. We are also taking additional precautions to daily sanitize office work areas, service trucks, and field equipment.
When appointments are requested, customer service representatives ask a series of COVID- related screening questions prior to dispatching a technician, and the questions are asked again by the technician upon arrival. If a customer’s response to the screening questions raises concern at either point, special safety precautions by an emergency response team can be implemented to complete the call if the homeowner agrees. If not, we have partnered with other regional contractors who may be able to handle the job.
To further protect our employees and the customer’s household, SJESP technicians arrive wearing face masks, shoe coverings, wear disposable gloves during the service call, carry disinfecting wipes, always wash their hands with antibacterial soap following each job, and practice appropriate social distancing at all times. Any filters or other parts removed from the customer’s system are disposed of in a safe manner, and surfaces touched by the technician are sanitized.
Since most residential HVAC systems are not designed for high-MERV-rated filters, if the customer makes this request, we use this as an opportunity to educate rather than sell. The technicians will explain that it can require more than retrofitting to a high rated filter and review the steps that may be necessary to make a change.
At a minimum, this might include a measurement of the pressure drop across the coil and available static pressure. An examination of the size of the existing return air grill, and structural opportunities for increasing the return air grill and or grills may take place. They will also make the customer aware that to fully protect against allergens, dust, and viruses would likely require the installation of a whole-house air purification system.
To avoid prolonged on-site contact for the service technician, if the customer would like to explore these options, we offer free virtual in-home meetings with our customer service team. If a digital option does not work for the customer, we do provide other ways to communicate.
During these challenging times, the health, safety, and peace of mind of our customers and our employees is our top priority.