Balloon Repair Station

Easy Balloons COVID-19 Inspection Procedures

Overview
Although at present (June 6th 2020) we are ourselves not carrying out any inspections or repairs we are hoping to re-open in July or August depending on the situation then. When we do re-open these requirements will apply. Having said that some of our inspectors are now inspecting again and others planning to do so in the near future. To this end our responsibility is to both our inspectors and our customers welfare and safety so we have prepared two documents to cover balloon inspections. Please be aware that the inspection itself will still be carried out according to the Manufacturers’ Schedule and the requirements refer specifically to the COVID-19 precautions that need to be taken. These are based on present Government Legislation and advice, World Health Organisation Advice, EASA/CAA advice and general advice for specific groups of workers. Please be aware that there may be additional requirements asked for by the inspector and these must be complied with. It is, therefore, important to discuss matters directly with your inspector be they from Easy Balloons or any other Part M Organisation inspectors.

The first Guide covers what is expected from the owner/operator or crew bringing the balloon for inspection. The second is the Guide that we have sent to our inspectors and has been used by others. Please respect the decisions and requests of the inspector. Sadly for owners it is likely you will have to pack away the balloon without the assistance of the inspector or their assistants.

The use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is recommended in all case however to be effective you must know how to use the equipment correctly from taking off and putting on of gloves through to facemasks and washing. For example, gloves should be washed before removal as you would your hands. In the case of facemasks they do lower the risk of an infected person passing the virus to an unaffected person, however it is not a replacement for social distancing. It is imperative that you do not touch your face mask at any time. There is a link at the end to a very straightforward guide produced by the World Health Organisation on the fitting and removal of all types of the commonly used PPE.

The COVID-19 threat is far from over and so it is really important that you read the Owner Inspection Requirements thoroughly and take great care to protect yourself and your crew at all times and note that, if at any time, the inspector is concerned about the behaviour of any of those attending the inspection will be halted. Please also take account of the extra time an inspection may take to complete. It is also likely that paperwork will not be completed on site.

Easy Balloons COVID-19 Owner Inspection Requirements
COVID-19 OIR Iss1 Rev2 05.06.2020

1.0 Basis of the Guidance
This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to the health and safety of third parties employed by you to assist or help with inspections or transportation of balloons and equipment. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account the site to be used, travelling to and from the site and other people (spectators) as well as those that you intend to use to assist you or who may turn up to assist.

This guide assumes that you are having the inspection carried out as a ‘customer’ of the inspector and as such the environment or location of the inspection is deemed ‘a place of work’ and the guidelines given by the Government and the associated bodies (CAA, EASA) must be followed wherever possible. Legal requirements, including travel and social distancing that apply to different regions of the UK or overseas must be taken into account. There may be additional requirements in overseas countries.

The owner/operator bringing the balloon for inspection along with any crew they supply are the responsibility of the owner/operator but must be prepared to meet the requirements of the inspector and follow their instructions.

UK Government Guidelines are currently - Stay alert - We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must: stay at home as much as possible (do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms). Work from home if you can limit contact with other people. Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible). Wash your hands regularly

The nature of ballooning means that, apart from social distancing being difficult to maintain, there are many aspects that put you at risk. This means that the need to protect yourself from contracting COVID-19 is of the utmost importance. Before having an inspection or repairs carried out it is important to ascertain whether or not the work is essential or could be postponed to a later date. There is no problem for a privately operated balloon to be out of ‘inspection’ or having an expired Airworthiness Review Certificate providing it is not flown. Our policy has been, and continues to be, advising the owner/operator to leave any inspection until nearer the time they intend to go flying. At the social level the current legislation states that only one to one meetings outside of the family/household group can take place. As we understand that, even as a family group, you cannot meet up with a friend from another household. That would entail putting all the family at risk. However practicality in the workplace has to be taken into account and this is reflected in the guide issued to our inspectors which follows various Government Workplace COVID-19 practices.

2.0 Personnel Requirements
Numbers required to carry out an inspection depend on the size of the balloon and exactly how the inspection is to be managed. Numbers available would depend on the willingness and physical capabilities of the inspector and whether or not they have an employee, member of their household or a crew member to assist. In the case of the owner/operator (customer) it would depend if they were to use household members or a crew member to assist. In all cases numbers must be kept to a minimum. It is likely that the inspector will not wish to be involved in the packing away of the balloon. A log will be kept by the inspector of the people that assisted with the inspection.

2.1 Minimum Requirements
Before agreeing to any inspection you will be asked if you or any of the crew you intend to bring to assist have any symptoms, been in contact with or have had or are recovering from COVID-19. Additionally are there any of your crew who have been, are working in, or live with someone working in an 'at risk' environment. It is up to the inspector to decide the risks involved and make their decision accordingly. This may mean getting back to you later.

2.2 Pre-Inspection Planning and Communication
Your inspector will discuss with you their requirements and what is expected of you prior to the inspection. The inspection will be under the control of the inspector at all times including the unpacking of the balloon. Please do not unpack the balloon ahead of the inspector arriving unless specifically asked.

If possible, to minimise handling of paperwork, you will be asked to email copies of the documents required for the inspection in advance. If your balloon is inspected regularly by your chosen inspector then some of the documentation such as Flight Manual details may be on record. You will be required to bring the logbook along or you may wish to send it in advance. Discuss this with your inspector.

If the inspector is coming to you please ensure that the site for the inspection is as private or as secure as possible. Public areas such as playing fields or alongside roads or footpaths should be avoided. You should not carry out inspections where a footpath or right of way crosses the site. By arrangement airfields would be ideal.

Weather conditions for the inspection should be taken into consideration to ensure control of the envelope does not compromise distancing.

Ideally, for maximum safety to all parties, the balloon should be left with the inspector to inspect and be collected later. If that is not possible then ensure that as few people as possible are involved. If you think it feasible and the inspector is willing then just use the two of you. If you are planning to drive to the inspectors site along with your crew to assist then you need to take additional precautions. Drive directly to the place of inspection and avoid stopping at petrol stations etc. You and any crew you bring must, at minimum, provide your own face masks (see PPE), gloves and hand sanitiser. Parking of additional vehicles must be such that social distancing is maintained. Gloves must be worn at all times.

You may choose to bring an approved household disinfectant (spray type or wipes), additional sanitiser, cloths and wipes to clean the equipment after the inspection. Do not use bleach.

Please be aware that as a result of the additional COVID-19 precautions the inspection is likely to take longer than normal.

2.3 Pre-Inspection Briefing
Prior to the inspection commencing the inspector will brief you and any crew on the process with regards to any specific requirements. Please ensure distancing is carried out at all times whenever possible. Instructions from the inspector must be followed. If at any time the inspector is not happy with the behaviour or conduct of anyone involved in the inspection then it will stop immediately.

As few people as possible will be used. Where distancing is not possible work side by side and avoid working face to face. It would very easy to accidentally get into each others space if all assisted with the unpacking and rigging of the balloon, for example, so to minimise contact please stick to the specific tasks asked of you or your crew. Packing away of the equipment will be by you and your crew if possible.

A Quick Release must not be used to ‘tether’ or restrain the balloon.

If someone is appointed to hold the balloon mouth open during a cold inflation then they must be wearing a facemask and, if possible, keep themselves behind the nomex. Ensure that any sneezing (hayfever etc) or coughing is directed into the arm.

2.4 The Inspection
During the inspection follow the standard practices of distancing whenever possible.
Please leave the inspector to get on with the job and only approach and assist if asked.

We suggest that the inspector unpacks the envelope unaided as far as the mouth is concerned and when the inspection of that is complete it can then be rigged accordingly as directed by the inspector.

If you are unsure of an instruction please ask for clarification. You may be asked to help with a grab test (if required) in which case please try and avoid face to face working.

On completion of the inspection the inspector will move away allowing you and your crew to pack away. If there are only two of you then during the packing away of the envelope and equipment avoid face to face working as much as possible.

Although the inspector will clean components and parts that he touches as they go you can carry out further cleaning should you feel it necessary. Any gloves, wipes or cloths you have used should be put into a bag and sealed up for disposal. Do not offer to take away litter or PPE from the inspector or their crew or let them take yours. Wash your hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds with hand sanitiser.

On returning home we would advise changing your clothes and place them directly into the washing machine or place them in a sealed bag for washing. Shower thoroughly.

2.5 Completing the Paperwork
Minimise contact during exchange of any documentation. It is up to the inspector to decide whether to issue the paperwork on site or retain the logbook and post it back to, or arrange later collection by you. If the inspector feels they can complete the paperwork on site then please keep a good distance away whilst it is completed.

2.6 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not a substitute for social distancing and fundamental hygiene practises. PPE is only effective if used correctly. This applies to the putting on of the equipment, the wearing of the equipment and the removal and disposal of the equipment. Please see the World Health Organisation poster on ‘How to put on and remove personal protective equipment’. There is a link in the Appendix.
What is very important, regardless of what you are wearing, that you do not touch your face or, if you are wearing one, the facemask itself at any time.

It is up to the inspector to decide what PPE they require all participants to wear. If the owner/operator or their assistants decide not to comply then they will have to decide whether to proceed with the inspection. Whereas gloves and hand washing facilities or sanitiser should be used the use of facemasks is optional, as far as the official advice is concerned. We would advocate the use of them especially when working closely together, packing an envelope away, for example. A face covering can be as simple as a cotton scarf. Whatever it is it could potentially become contaminated so once finished with should be disposed of or packed accordingly for cleaning.

Government guidelines for the Work Place state that; ‘Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly. and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it. When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands and change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it. Even if you are wearing one practise social distancing wherever possible. If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual way’.

2.7 Follow on Inspections
Please bear in mind that the inspector may be carrying out another inspection following yours so please get packed away and loaded as quickly as possible. Rather than spend time arranging the basket and trailer ‘just so’ please just ensure it is safely loaded and re-arrange accordingly later.

2.8 Accidents and Incidents
The usual safety measures must be maintained during the inspection. In an emergency, for example, an accident, fire, or injury people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe. People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.

If you later have any COVID-19 symptons you should arrange a test as soon as possible and self isolate in accordance with the requirements current at the time. You must also contact all those involved in the inspection if the time period suggests that was the source or, that you may have unknowingly had it at the time of the inspection.

2.9 Public Involvement
Spectators or passing members of the public that stop to watch the proceedings should be politely asked to leave explaining that this is a CAA/EASA Annual Inspection and that Workplace COVID-19 measures are in place. Make it clear that the balloon will not be flying.

Appendix
World Health Organisation posters for the putting on and removal of PPE. Four downloads available.

How to make a simple facemask out of a T-shirt.

Easy Balloons COVID-19 Inspector Procedure Guide
EB COVID-19 IPG Iss1 Rev2 05.06.2020

1.0 Basis of the Guidance
This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to the health and safety of third parties employed by you to assist or help with inspections or transportation of balloons and equipment. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account the site to be used, travelling to and from the site and other people (spectators) as well as those that you intend to use to assist you or who may turn up to assist. The person most at risk is you.

This guide assumes that you are carrying out an inspection on behalf of a ‘customer’ and as such the environment or location of the inspection is deemed a place of work and the guidelines given by the Government and the associated bodies (CAA, EASA) must be followed wherever possible. Legal requirements, including travel and social distancing that apply to different regions of the UK or overseas must be taken into account. There may be additional requirements in overseas countries that may be added to this document as required.

The owner/operator bringing the balloon for inspection along with any crew they supply are the responsibility of the owner/operator but they must be prepared to meet the requirements of the inspector and follow their instructions.

UK Government Guidelines are currently - Stay alert - We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must: stay at home as much as possible (do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms). Work from home if you can limit contact with other people. Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible). Wash your hands regularly

The nature of ballooning means that, apart from social distancing being difficult to maintain, there are many aspects that put you at risk. This means that the need to protect yourself from contracting COVID-19 is of the utmost importance.

Before agreeing to undertake any inspections or repairs it is important to ascertain whether or not the work is essential or could be postponed to a later date. There is no problem for a privately operated balloon to be out of ‘inspection’ or having an expired Airworthiness Review Certificate providing it is not flown. Easy Balloons Ltd. policy has been, and continues to be, advising the owner/operator to leave any inspection until nearer the time they intend to go flying. At the social level the current legislation states that only one to one meetings outside of the family/household group can take place. As we understand that, even as a family group, you cannot meet up with a friend from another household. That would entail putting all the family at risk. However, practicality in the workplace has to be taken into account and this is reflected in the guide which follows various Government Workplace COVID-19 practices.

2.0 Personnel Requirements
Numbers required to carry out an inspection depend on the size of the balloon and exactly how the inspection is to be managed. Numbers available would depend on the willingness and physical capabilities of the inspector and whether or not they have an employee, member of their household or a crew member to assist. In the case of the owner/operator (customer) it would depend if they were to use household members or a crew member to assist. In all cases numbers must be kept to a minimum.

2.1 Minimum Requirements
Before agreeing to any inspection you must ask the owner/operator if they or any of the crew they intend to bring to assist have any symptoms, been in contact with or have had or are recovering from COVID-19. Additionally you should ask if they or any of their crew have been, are working in, or live with someone working in an 'at risk' environment. It is up to the inspector to decide the risks involved and make their decision accordingly. This may mean getting back to the to the owner.

2.2 Pre-Inspection Planning and Communication
However you choose to carry out the inspection, or where you intend to carry out the inspection, it is up to you to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to prevent harm to yourself or others at all times. Discuss with the owner/operator your requirements and what is expected of them prior to your, or their, arrival. Explain that the inspection will be under your control at all times including the unpacking of the balloon.

A guide outlining the requirements of the inspector ‘COVID-19 Owner Inspection Requirements’ has been prepared and should be sent to the customer in advance.

If possible, to minimise handling of paperwork, arrange with the owner/operator to email you copies of all the documents required for the inspection in advance. If it is a balloon you inspect regularly you may have some of the documents or Flight Manual details on record. You will require the logbook. If the owner is willing then it could be sent ahead of the inspection.

Ensure that the site for the inspection is as private or as secure as possible. Public areas such as playing fields or alongside roads or footpaths should be avoided. You should not carry out inspections where a footpath or right of way crosses the site. By arrangement an airfield could be an ideal place.

Weather conditions for the inspection should be taken into consideration to ensure control of the envelope does not compromise distancing. Please be aware that as a result of the additional COVID-19 precautions the inspection is likely to take longer than normal.

If at all possible, to avoid travelling, arrange to carry out the inspection in your own area with an employee, member of your household or perhaps someone who regularly crews for you. Ideally, for maximum safety, the balloon should be left with you to inspect and be collected later. If that is not possible then ensure that as few people as possible are involved. If you think it feasible then just use the owner to assist you.

If you are planning on relying on the owner and/or their crew to assist then you need to take additional precautions. If the owner is coming to you ensure that they drive directly to the place of inspection and avoid stopping at petrol stations etc. The owner and any crew they bring must, at minimum, provide their own face masks (see PPE), gloves and hand sanitiser. Parking of additional vehicles must be such that social distancing is maintained. Gloves must be worn at all times.

You should ensure that in addition to your normal inspection equipment you carry hand sanitiser, cloths and wipes, gloves and facemask at minimum along with a recommended household spray-type or wipe disinfectant. Take your own drink and food if required. Do not use bleach.

2.3 Pre-Inspection Briefing
If the inspection is to involve the owner an/or their crew then before commencing the inspection please ensure that you explain any requirements that you have and that all parties must remain apart at all times whenever possible. Instructions from you must be followed. If at any time you are not happy with the behaviour or conduct of anyone involved in the inspection then you should stop immediately.

Use as few people as possible. Where distancing is not possible work side by side and avoid working face to face. It would very easy to accidentally get into each others space if all assisted with the unpacking and rigging of the balloon, for example, so to minimise contact assign any crew specific jobs.

A Quick Release must not be used to ‘tether’ or restrain the balloon.

As you are the most at risk, although the owner and/or their crew can assist with unpacking and rigging (if required), the packing away of the equipment will be by them.

If someone is appointed to hold the balloon mouth open during a cold inflation then they must be wearing a facemask and, if possible, keep themselves behind the nomex.. Ensure that any sneezing (hayfever etc) or coughing is directed into the arm.

2.4 The Inspection
A log should be kept by the inspector of the people that assist with each inspection. This can be written on the back of the inspection sheet along with contact details. We don’t require a copy of this.

During the inspection follow the standard practices of distancing whenever possible and avoid touching your mask, if you are wearing one, or you face.

A Quick Release must not be used for ‘tethering’ the balloon.

We would suggest that the inspector unpacks the envelope unaided as far as the mouth is concerned and when the inspection of that is complete it can be rigged accordingly.

Carry out the inspection as you normally would. If you require assistance then ensure that the person asked understands fully what is required of them and remind them to try and ensure distancing at all times.

Medical gloves are not suitable for carrying out a burner test or as protection against liquid propane. If you change to flying gloves then remove the PPE gloves wash your hands and put on your flying gloves. Once the test is finished then wash your hands and put on a fresh pair of PPE gloves. Your flying gloves should be placed in a sealed bag ready for re-use if necessary or cleaning later. Wash your hands between each glove change.

If a grab test is required then, if you cannot carry it out yourself, direct face to face working should be avoided.

Clean any parts you touch (burner/cylinder controls etc) as you go with a cloth and sanitiser or a recommended household disinfectant. It will be the responsibility of the owner/operator to decide whether further cleaning and possible disinfection of the equipment is required and where, when and how it is done.

On completion of the inspection move away and let the owner and their crew pack away. If there are only two of you then during the packing away of the envelope and equipment avoid face to face working as much as possible. Actual time spent packing away should be as brief as possible so please discourage ‘sorting out’ the basket or suchlike!

Clean any equipment that you have used before packing it away. Any gloves, wipes or cloths should be put into a bag and sealed up for disposal. Do not offer to take away litter or PPE from the owner/operator or their crew or let them take yours. Wash your hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds with hand sanitiser.

On returning home change your clothes and place them directly into the washing machine or place them in a sealed bag for washing. Shower thoroughly.

2.5 Completing the Paperwork
Minimise contact during exchange of any documentation. It is up to the inspector to decide whether to issue the paperwork on site or retain the logbook and post it back to, or arrange later collection by, the owner. If you elect to take it away ensure gloves must be worn for the exchange and any paperwork placed in a sealed bag. Research suggests that COVID-19 can exist on paper for three hours or more. If you decide to complete it on site then avoid having anyone around you whilst you do so and use your own writing equipment.

2.6 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not a substitute for social distancing and fundamental hygiene practises. PPE is only effective if used correctly. This applies to the putting on of the equipment, the wearing of the equipment and the removal and disposal of the equipment. Please see the World Health Organisation poster on ‘How to put on and remove personal protective equipment’. There is a link in the Appendix.
What is very important, regardless of what you are wearing, that you do not touch your face or, if you are wearing one, the facemask itself at any time.

It is up to the inspector to decide what PPE they require all participants to wear. If the owner/operator or their assistants decide not to comply you will have to decide whether to proceed with the inspection. Whereas gloves, hand washing facilities (where available) and sanitiser should be used the use of facemasks is, controversially, optional as far as the official advice is concerned. We would advocate the use of them by your customers, especially when working closely together when distancing is not practical or possible such as packing an envelope away. A face covering can be as simple as a cotton scarf. Whatever it is it could potentially become contaminated so once finished with should be disposed of or packed accordingly for cleaning.

The Government guidelines for the Work Place state that; ‘Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the Workplace. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly. and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it. When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands and change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it. Even if you are wearing one practise social distancing wherever possible. If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual way’.

2.7 Follow on Inspections
If you are intending to follow on with another inspection on somebody else’s balloon then the process must be must be repeated and new PPE used. Try and ensure that the previous balloon and its crew leave before the next arrive and if room permits carry the next inspection out in a different area.

2.8 Accidents and Incidents
The usual safety measures must be maintained during the inspection. In an emergency, for example, an accident, fire, or injury people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe. People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.

If you later have any COVID-19 symptoms you should arrange a test as soon as possible and self isolate in accordance with the requirements current at the time. You must also contact all those involved in the inspection if the time period suggests that was the source or, that you may have unknowingly had it at the time of the inspection.

2.9 Public Involvement
Spectators, or passing members of the public that stop to watch the proceedings, should be politely asked to leave explaining that this is a CAA/EASA Annual Inspection and that Workplace COVID-19 measures are in place. Make it clear that the balloon will not be flying.

3.0 Appendix

World Health Organisation posters for the putting on and removal of PPE. Four downloads available.

How to make a simple facemask out of a T-shirt

https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/assets/docs/working-safely-guide.pdf

http://www.independentgarageassociation.co.uk/page/covid-19-coronavirus-guidance-for-independent-garages - very thorough set of links for all aspects of Workplace practises.

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