Even in the face of a raging pandemic, truck drivers are working very hard to keep goods flowing. They are navigating a challenging work environment to keep grocery stores and medical providers stocked with essential products.
While they are helping the population and economy, there is a need to take necessary precautions that protect them from unnecessary exposures to the virus.
Let's look at a few driver safety tips:
Acquire personal protective equipment
Truck drivers should wear a hospital-grade face mask when interacting with people or during pick-ups and drop-offs. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention also advises wearing clothing items such as scarves and bandannas as a makeshift mask if the drivers have no mask available.
The fleet staff, including drivers, should also wear disposable gloves when handling goods, inventory, and paperwork. Where possible, drivers should wear sunglasses to minimize exposure, especially when interacting with others.
Disinfect the vehicle
Drivers should carry out routine disinfection of their trucks from time to time. The driver's hands touch many things, and the risk of transferring pathogens, including the COVID 19 virus, to the vehicle remains very high.
A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that the vehicle's steering wheel has at least four times more bacteria than a regular toilet seat and is, therefore, one of the most prone areas for the virus.
Drivers should use disinfectants that come with at least 70 percent alcohol to wipe surfaces like doors, dashboards, steering wheels, window buttons, and every other high touch spot in their vehicle.
Minimize risks on the trip
If the driver is going on a long-distance trip, they must take necessary and deliberate actions that minimize the risk of getting COVID 19. You should try to avoid public restrooms as much as possible and only use them when absolutely necessary.
Additionally, have a hand sanitizer with you at all times and use them after every interaction in warehouses, restaurants, convenience stores, or drive throughs. If possible, you should also pack your food to cut down your trips to restaurants.
Besides, every time you use the fuel pump, ensure you sanitize your hands properly. Should there be a need to stay in a hotel, disinfect all the surfaces, and limit any interactions with staff and other guests by confining yourself in your room and making use of room services.
Adhere to each state's COVID 19 regulations
If you are on a long trip, familiarize yourself with each state's COVID 19 regulations and adhere to them. For example, in states where they impose curfews and lockdowns, follow them religiously.
Ignoring laid down fleet regulations will not only get you on the wrong side of the law, but you also raise the risk of getting the virus.
Use online services
Should you need pertinent services that enhance your work, opt for online processes. For example, if you are looking to renew your driver's license or vehicle registration, use the Department Of Motor Vehicles' online services.
Alternatively, you can reach them via phone, email, or regular mail. Where possible, avoid visits to busy government offices.
Remain hyper-aware of your surroundings
If you are a driver with underlying severe medical conditions, you should weigh if your trips are worth the risk. If you must go, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Typically, as you spend time moving around the entire country, you should be aware of the places where the virus has more presence and avoid them.
Ensure you are adequately informed of the currents risk status of all your destinations. You should also take note of the health of the people around you and stay far away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.
Other specific tips are:
- Where possible strive to eat and sleep in your truck
- Avoid going up onto the dock, loading areas, warehouses, or into offices unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Stay away from larger groups of persons as much as possible so as to maintain distance.
- Carefully plan your routes and determine to sue less busy routes. Avoid routes that lead you to virus hotspots
- Stay at home if sick or have symptoms of virus. Seek medical attention if your condition worsens
- Keep a health pack in your truck such as a thermometer, latex gloves, and over the counter medicines that you may need.
- Determine to stay in touch with family and co-workers when out on the road. In case of troubles, inform your superiors as soon as possible
- See a healthcare provider should you come in contact with a confirmed covid19 case.
There is no doubt truck drivers are on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic that is currently sweeping the entire world. The world economy and lives depend on truck drivers' services that guarantee the continued supply of goods and services.
With many people rushing to stores to stock up on food, sanitizers, soaps, and other necessities, the trucking industry offers one of the most critical services during this pandemic. Besides, as the holiday season approaches, the demand for goods and services is set to rise, and more drivers will join the fray.
Whether driving long distances or short distances, a crucial area of concern for the fleet manager is the safety of the driver. Contact us today if you need help managing your transport fleet during this pandemic period.