The Standard – Keeping safe in uncertain times

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Paul Wilkes, Business Services Manager, FORS, outlines how the ‘key workers’ driving delivery vehicles should go about protecting themselves.

There is no question that these are uncertain times.

All of us, whatever our circumstances or line of work, are dealing with extraordinary challenges in our personal and professional lives.  Our concerns for our personal safety, that of our families and our wider communities are paramount and sit alongside our fears of reduced income and financial strain.

As this publication goes to print, delivery drivers are listed as ‘key workers’, with the government recognising the important role our industry continues to play. Many of these will be van drivers.  It is the road transport industry which will ensure essential food, medicines and supplies can efficiently move across the country.

With more and more deliveries – especially in cities and urban areas – the responsibility of LCV drivers, it is vital that we as an industry make sure our drivers are able to stay safe while respecting the safety of others in our communities.

Keeping hands clean remains the most important step we can take, and as per government advice, hand-washing must be done for more than 20 seconds. Where possible, drivers should wear gloves when making a delivery. Hand sanitiser should be easily accessible in their van, and if gloves aren’t available then sanitiser should be used immediately after handling pens, styluses or paperwork, and after using petrol pumps and cashless card systems.

Direct hand-to-hand contact should be avoided where possible. If making a delivery to a customer address, then where possible packages should be left on the doorstep. The doorbell or door can then be rung/knocked, and the driver should then distance themselves 2m away as per government public health guidance.

It is also vital for van drivers to ensure they are as financially stable as possible – especially those who do not work as part of a fleet. At time of publishing, guidance for governmental financial support for the self-employed – a category into which many van drivers fall – is not clear, but basic preparation can help ensure vehicles can be on the roads for as long as possible: delivery routes should be mapped out to minimise fuel use; drivers should check their van every day to make sure it is well maintained, with tyres correctly pumped and assessed for damage; roadside assistance should be checked, with provider advice carefully understood.

These preventative measures will certainly not remove the struggles many van drivers no doubt will face in the coming months, but they will go some way to ensuring drivers are best prepared and able to continue working safely.

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