What Aircraft Maintenance Workers Need to Know about COVID-19

As an aircraft maintenance worker, you could be exposed to COVID-19 in situations such as when you have close contact with someone with COVID-19, when you touch surfaces while repairing aircraft interiors and lavatories that have been touched or handled by a person with COVID-19, or by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

  • Limit close contact with others by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet, when possible.
  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, following the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
  • Use gloves whenever you touch surfaces contaminated by body fluids.
  • Proper hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Key times to clean hands in general include:
    • Before, during, and after preparing food
    • Before eating food
    • After using the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Additional times to clean hands on the job include:
    • Before and after work shifts
    • Before and after work breaks
    • After touching frequently touched surfaces
    • After removing any personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • After performing maintenance tasks such as handling untreated human waste
    • After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Recommendations based on work tasks:

Interior Work:

  • Wear your normally required PPE, if applicable, when making repairs in the passenger cabin area.
  • Do not use compressed air or water sprays to clean surfaces contacted by passengers, as these techniques may aerosolize potentially infectious material.
  • If cleaning is required before you make repairs, first review CDC cleaning guidance for Airlines and Airline Crew: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and contact your employer for additional guidance.

Air Filter Replacement:

  • Wear your normally required PPE, if applicable.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s filter replacement schedule.
  • When replacing air filters (including HEPA filters):
    • Avoid hitting, dropping, or shaking the filter.
    • Do not use compressed air to clean a filter. This will keep materials in the filter from becoming airborne.
    • Dispose of the used filter and gloves in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Clean your hands when the task is finished.

Waste and Wastewater Handling:

  • Follow standard practices when performing work tasks that could expose you to untreated waste and wastewater. Untreated waste and wastewater colored blue (i.e., a deodorizing agent in some aircraft toilets) are not disinfected and have the potential to be infectious. Take these steps to protect yourself:
    • Avoid causing or creating a fine spray of untreated waste material.
    • Do not vent aircraft vacuum waste tanks inside hangars if the aircraft’s external venting system is not equipped with a filter to prevent the spread of germs from the waste. If you must vent the vacuum waste tanks inside a hangar, use a technique that exhausts the air outside the hangar.
    • Use employer-provided PPE when handling human waste or sewage:
      • Splash-proof face shield
      • Liquid-repellent coveralls
      • Waterproof gloves
      • Rubber boots
    • Remove PPE after use following your employers’ instructions, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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