Our truck drivers are at the front line during this global COVID-19 pandemic and are doing a brilliant job right now. As shelves are emptied of stock, and equipment demands are high, drivers like you keep essential goods and services moving during this time of need. In addition to you monitoring your own health and safety when it comes to fatigue management, healthy eating and best practices plus adhering to the road regulations, adding COVID to the mix and driving during this current pandemic is a very complex task. However, it’s now more important than ever to implement safe work practices, and here are some tips to guide you in the right direction during this challenging time.
Keep you and your Hino clean
Personal hygiene is now top of the list and it is as simple as washing your hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds and using hand sanitiser. When it comes to your cab, the formula is also simple – Regular, Soap and Water. Spend extra time on the commonly touched surfaces including the steering wheel, buttons, handles, seatbelt, cup holder, fuel filler cap, mirrors and sun visor. You can use disinfecting wipes for these specific areas because the germs are harder to shift but avoid using bleach or ammonia-based products and protect your vehicle’s interior.
If multiple drivers are using the one vehicle, it is recommended you cover your seat in disposable plastic covers and use plastic footwell liners that can be changed regularly. For extra peace of mind, consider sanitising the air conditioning system using a sanitiser/cleaner pressure pack. Be vigilant with your Hino, think of it as a safe haven for you, and it can help you stay safe.
Changes to your workplace
It's almost impossible for truck drivers to work from home, so you should follow the guidelines recommended by the Department of Health.
Social distancing is crucial in stopping the spread of the virus, so you should do what you can to reduce contact with colleagues and customers. You should keep 1.5 metres away from people at all times (1 person per 4sqm) and don’t shake hands. Ideally arrange for goods to be dropped off at a pre-designated area that’s doesn’t require physical contact and if at all possible, you should try to modify your shifts to avoid peak times.
If you are also a business owner, follow your state or federal government's advice when considering the implementation of the correct processes in your workplace. Safe Work Australia also offers some further practical advice.
If you are a small business there are basic guidelines from Safe Work Australia small business page that can help you.
What to look out for if you start to feel unwell
Staying on the road is a major priority but your health must always come first. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, then you should call 000 for urgent medical assistance.
If you are feeling unwell, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or you can check your symptoms using healthdirect’s symptom checker.
There are now a number of resources available to ensure you are up to date and are implementing best practices. One recommended app is the Australian Government Coronavirus app, which can be download here.
Continue to implement safe driving practices and monitor your health
Out on the road, drink plenty of water and eat as healthy as possible, avoid ready-made fast foods and go fresh. Manage your long haul drive by implementing pre-departure checks, manage driver fatigue and practice low-risk driving. It’s more vital than ever to follow the guidelines around Stop. Revive. Survive and take regular breaks throughout your work day.
We all feel anxiety and stress from time to time, and during the COVID-19 pandemic this can have heightened effects on our mental health that can lead to detrimental effects on our physical health. Reach out for support and get the advice you need. There are plenty of resources available to help you during this challenging time:
Beyond Blue | 1300 224 636
Lifeline | 13 11 14
MindSpot Clinic | 1800 61 44 34
If you’re a business which has experienced low demand, this time should be spent to catch up on paperwork and plan for the future. Take this opportunity to review processes and implement new technologies, which will enhance efficiencies. Ensure your service intervals are up to date and visit Southern Truck Centre. Be ready for when normality returns.
Our industry is being tested but we will come our stronger in the long term. Remain vigilant with your health and safety and remember Hino is with you all the way.