Long Beach technicians and staff members must wear masks when working together. - Photo: City of Long Beach

Long Beach technicians and staff members must wear masks when working together.

Photo: City of Long Beach

After weeks of working half time, the City of Long Beach, Calif., fleet bureau sent its technicians back to work full time on May 4, according to Dan Berlenbach, fleet services manager for the city.

“We need to bring people back. The workload is picking up so next week, they'll go back to 40-hour weeks,” Berlenbach said last week.

For weeks, technicians have been split, with half working in shops and the other half telecommuting from home and switching periodically. While at home, they are asked to take online training courses, and study for their ASE certifications.

With everyone back in the shop, fleet management has enacted safety procedures to promote social distancing and safe practices, said Eric Winterset, superintendent of maintenance. Technicians are on a 4/10 schedule, with varying days off to help with social distancing. Non-N95 masks were issued, and technicians are required to wear them while working together, in close proximity, or when traveling in a vehicle together. They don’t have a wear a mask if they are working alone in their designated bays. When working on vehicles and equipment, technicians must spray high touchpoint areas of vehicles and let them sit for 10 minutes before proceeding with repairs.

Long Beach technicians working in their bays alone don't have to wear a mask. - Photo: City of Long Beach

Long Beach technicians working in their bays alone don't have to wear a mask.

Photo: City of Long Beach

For the stockroom, Winterset said they installed foot pulls on doors, so workers don’t have to use their hands to open doors. Plexiglass has been installed on the entry windows of the stockroom (as well as signs reminding technicians that only one person is allowed at the counter at a time) and at supervisor offices, and the bureau even rented a trailer to spread out the team when plexiglass isn’t feasible. All in-person meetings are eliminated and will instead be held virtually. Additionally, the technician break room setup was changed so there is only one chair per table.

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