The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt worldwide, and here at Transmode our thoughts go out to all those affected.

While the haulage industry has remained largely operational throughout the pandemic, HGV drivers are strongly advised to follow the safety guidelines outlined by the government and leading trade bodies, in order to protect themselves and contain the spread of the virus.

Here, we provide an overview of the safety measures that drivers are being advised to take, along with an update on border control changes in light of the pandemic. Please note that the advice within this article is intended as best practice guidance only.

Keeping Yourself Safe

The government has published ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’, which offers specific advice to those working in various industries, including HGV drivers and couriers.

In line with the guidance for all industries, drivers are advised to maintain social distancing with other individuals wherever possible when in their vehicles. This means not sharing a vehicle with somebody else, where it is safe to do so, or considering additional safety measures if it is not possible to keep two metres apart.

In cases where drivers have no alternative but to work within two metres of somebody else, they can minimise risk in the following ways:

– Single person or contactless refuelling wherever possible

– Avoiding any face-to-face communication

– Adding a screen between the driver and passenger, provided it doesn’t compromise safety

– Wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves

– Regularly using a personal hand sanitiser while in the vehicle

All haulage operators are now required to conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment, confirming that they have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place, and that they have taken all reasonable steps to keep people two metres apart, or at least manage the risk of transmission. The results of this risk assessment should be shared with drivers and all other employees.

In cases where drivers or other workers have to work in close proximity, operators are advised to use a fixed pairing system, minimising the number of people that each person comes into close contact with.

Keeping Your Vehicle Safe

With most HGV drivers spending extended periods of time on the road, it means their vehicles don’t tend to be cleaned that frequently.

However, regular vehicle cleaning is now strongly advised, especially where it is used by different drivers or occupied by more than one person. All contact areas within a vehicle, such as the steering wheel, gearstick and other controls, should be cleaned thoroughly using antibacterial products, likewise all door handles on the interior and exterior.

Keeping your vehicle well-ventilated – for example, by opening the windows – will improve air flow and minimise the risk of transmission if you are travelling with somebody else.

Travel Restrictions

The government’s advice against non-essential travel is not intended to apply to international and domestic freight transport, as it is classified as an essential activity. However, this guidance is under constant review, so it’s important to check the government’s website for the most recent updates.

Many countries have closed the majority of border points, with others refusing entry or imposing quarantine periods on incoming UK road freight operators. The latest country-by-country information is available via the FCO’s travel advice pages.

Here at Transmode, we are continuing to operate as normal, providing a professional and efficient haulage service to our valued customers. We are also on the lookout for subcontractors who are able to operate COVID-responsibly, so please get in touch if you’d like to join our growing network of drivers.

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