From day-one, we’ve made safety our top priority at SD Truck World, from GPS trackers to pre-trip inspections so drivers can feel confident starting their trips.
But with COVID, a new level of vigilance is necessary to help contain the virus and keep truckers safe. Here are some things trucking companies can do to support their drivers during these trying times.
What is COVID?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. Although the virus can be picked up on surfaces, the main way it spreads is from one person directly to another within close contact. Unfortunately, COVID can be spread even by people who don’t show symptoms.
Trucking companies can help their drivers by providing education, reinforcing safety in workplace culture, and providing the tools that can make safety more convenient.
Checking in With Drivers
Drivers who are having symptoms or feeling unwell should stay home and tell their supervisors. Although this article doesn’t intend to provide medical advice and can’t replace the attention of a doctor, symptoms often include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
The CDC has an excellent guide on what long-haul truck drivers need to know about COVID-19.
Trucking companies can help drivers come up with a plan for where to stay and what to do if they do come down with symptoms on a trip.
Renewed Focus on Cleanliness
One of the simplest first steps is to provide drivers with education and supplies to make sure they stay safe on the road. Extra focus is being placed on cleaning the inside of trucks between trips and providing the drivers with hand sanitizer, wipes, and other products when soap and water washing won’t be convenient.
Drivers should be reminded to avoid shaking hands and to use masks whenever in public.
We believe in equipping our drivers with the knowledge and tools to make the right choices easy. Safety is part of our culture, and we take the time every day to check in and make sure drivers have what they need.
Social Distancing on the Job
Trucking companies are looking for ways to avoid having drivers come close to other people, including staff during load deliveries or at border crossings.
Rather than getting out of their trucks during unloading, many companies are suggesting that they remain in their vehicles while the staff at unloading facilities do their work.
At SD Truck World, we utilize pre-trip inspections by certified mechanics to ensure that drivers won’t unnecessarily get stuck on the road due to mechanical issues that could have been prevented.
While inspecting rigs prior to taking off is not fool-proof, it reduces the likelihood that drivers will depart on a trip and then become stranded if their rigs break down. If they make it through the trip without having to interact with tow-truck drivers or mechanics, that will reduce their exposure.
If mechanics do need access to the inside of the trucks, they should disinfect the surfaces prior to the driver getting back inside, and windows should be opened to allow for ventilation.
Avoid Unnecessary Stops
Many companies, us at SD Truck World included, are advising their drivers to bring extra snacks and food with them on the road. That way, they’ll avoid having to stop at gas stations or truck stops and go inside to get food during their trips. While they may not opt to bring all of their meals with them, even a few items could reduce the number of stops they will make.
Remote Work, Training, and Orientation
To allow for more effective social distancing, many trucking companies are choosing to offer orientation materials that can be completed digitally, avoiding a trip to the office.
Training and orientation are also being completed either remotely or in smaller class sizes, with social distancing guidelines in place.
Keeping Truckers and Supply Chains Healthy
The health of our nation’s supply chains has come to the public’s attention in recent months. At SD Truck World, we understand that supply chains are made possible by drivers.
Without the men and women who work to keep our shelves stocked and families supplied with the things they need to live, our supply chains would fall apart. We appreciate our drivers and strive to give them all the necessary tools and training to stay safe and thrive in their careers.