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“What’s The Big Deal?” - Sean Nutley’s Take On Following COVID-19 Guidelines

If you’ve been online recently, you’ll probably have noticed the proliferation of people claiming the Coronavirus to be one great conspiracy theory, or some kind of hoax. This swathe of sentiment, once solely consigned to tin-foil hat wearers, has gathered real and very dangerous momentum over the past couple of months.

For Sean Nutley, Managing Director of PPE supplier Lemon Worldwide, he can no longer bite his tongue at this portion of the population. I spoke to Sean at length about his thoughts on the situation surrounding COVID-19, and how, in his eyes at least, it’s really not that hard to do your bit.

Sean’s Background

In order to better understand Sean’s current position on the matter, I wanted to first ask him about his original background. It turns out he’s been in (or around) the world of PPE for quite some time…

“I’ve been working in construction since I was sixteen years old,” Sean starts. “And between then and now, there’s been a huge change, culturally, around PPE.

“When I started as a roofer, I’d wear a pair of some sturdy boots, like a pair of Doc Martens or something, go down to the army surplus store for my on-site clothes, and then top it off with a bobble hat, not a hard hat. There weren’t any harnesses or anything. Your life was in your own hands back then, really.”

Laying Foundations, Brick By Brick

It’s no surprise then, when you hear about the historic lack of PPE within construction, that the injury and death rates seen within the industry used to be so disproportionately high, when compared with other sectors. But then, after a while, that all began to change…

“The industry saw that this high rate of injury was easily reducible,” He says. “So then, little by little, what you saw was PPE beginning to become more of a mainstay within the sector. It went from being the case that you got funny looks if you werethe one wearing a hard hat, to being very much the odd one out if you weren’t.”

Sean acknowledges that such a shift in mind-set did take its time, “It took years for that kind of switch in thinking to really settle in, but now, when you look at the kind of punitive measures in place on construction sites – yellow and red-card systems if you’re caught not wearing a helmet, for instance – you can see that it’s worked. You can’t go two metres without seeing a high-vis jacket on-site, nowadays, and rightly so.”

Clear Parallels… And Clear Differences

For Sean, there is a both a clear parallel between the situation then and now, as well as there also being one marked difference. “In some ways it is similar, you know,” He starts. “You’ve got a large group of people being asked to do something they’re not used to - it’s change. By nature, humans don’t tend to be the biggest fans of change.

“But that’s about where the similarity ends,” Sean continues. “What we’re all being asked to do? It’s really not that hard. With construction, the reason it took time is because it was so drastic a change. In this situation, on the other hand, we’re not being asked to wear something cumbersome – just a face covering. We’re not being told to wear hazmat suits all day, we’re being told to wash our hands, and stay a little bit apart from one another.

“Until a vaccine is made readily available, or some other solution is found, we’re going to have to continue social distancing, continue wearing face masks and continue to practice the most basic of hygiene – which we should have been doing, regardless of a global pandemic! I just don’t understand why people are kicking up such a fuss about it. What’s the big deal?”

It’s clear, then, speaking to Sean, that there’s no reason why such a cultural shift can’t happen in the instant kind of way that’s needed. It’s worth remembering that this is a man who’s spent his entire career working, in one form or another with PPE, so he knows what he’s talking about.

“You’ve already got millions of contractors and labourers wearing PPE worldwide, every single day, and they just get on with it, no questions asked. So why can’t – why shouldn’t we?”

“Why Not Do It, Anyway?”

As I sat at my home-office desk on a damp squib of a Monday morning, the question put across Zoom to me was this: “Why wouldn’tyou apply these practices to everyday life, anyway, regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic, or not?” I didn’t have an answer, which, when you think about it, sort of proves Sean’s point.

“I didn’t start washing my hands because of COVID-19, I was washing my hands because, well, it shouldn’t even need explaining why! If I’m going on the Tube, then I’ll wear a mask, if I’m working in my shed, I’ll wear a mask! I don’t want to be breathing in all the dust and particulate matter and God knows what, I don’t know why anyone would!”

I was curious as to whether Sean, himself, had been ill since the virus’ arrival. “Not even a snuffle,” He says. “Not one cold.” Is this merely anecdotal evidence? Yes. Does it, however, also support Sean’s personal views that the advice works? I would argue also yes, because regardless of whether it’s been a result of his rigorous personal hygiene and distancing routine that’s kept Sean healthy over the past few months, or because of some combination of other factors, what’s for certain is that you don’t worsenyour risk of contracting COVID-19 by following the advice. You can onlybenefit from it, and so you can understand just why Sean is so emphatic on the topic.

Got To Keep On Top Of It

With regards to the virus, Sean believes we’re at the beginning of a big second peak, and whilst that might only be speculation (well-informed though it may be), in his view, adhering to the guidelines and keeping on top of personal wellbeing is going to be key to staying healthy and getting through the worst of what’s to come.

Final Thoughts