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Driver Safety & Welfare Amid Coronavirus

Apr 27, 2020

Many lorry, HGV drivers and delivery drivers are still working amid the coronavirus pandemic. Something which we are very grateful to the logistics industry for.

But whilst keeping supply chains moving, drivers are vulnerable to the risk of Coronavirus at this time. It is therefore vital that driver safety during the Coronavirus is of paramount importance to employers and fleet managers.

Anthony Jones director Steve Green shared his thoughts on the issue of employer’s health and safety responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic in one of our recent blogs.

Driver safety should be top of the list for employers given that driver hours have been relaxed temporarily and the government has introduced social distancing guidelines which everyone must adhere to whether working or not. These are challenged by the fact that many drivers must engage in pick-up of packages and goods as well as delivery so it is important to have protocols in place which ensure social distancing can be facilitated.

How have EU driver hours been relaxed during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Relaxation to the EU drivers’ hour rules were put in place at 00:01 Monday 23rd March 2020 and are currently set to run until 23:59 on Sunday 31st May.

The relaxation of rules refers to anyone driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules or the GB drivers’ hours rules, transporting goods by road. The rules are not specific to sector or certain journeys.

For details of the relaxation to driver hour rules then refer to the gov.uk website for the most up to date information on driver hours during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Department for Transport (DfT) state that whilst these temporary relaxations have been put in place, they must only be used where absolutely necessary. Normal driver hour rules should be adhered to in other circumstances.

If you plan to use the relaxations across your business, then the DfT makes clear that employees are still responsible for the health and safety of their employees. And that driver safety should not be compromised as a result of using the relaxations.

  • Use of the relaxations to driver hour rules must not compromise driver safety. For example, not expecting drivers to drive when tired
  • There should be agreement between employers/employees (or their representatives) with regards to implementation of the relaxation of the rules
  • Drivers must be aware of how to update their Tachographs correctly to explain why normal driver hour restrictions are not being adhered to

How can fleet managers manage social distancing?

Social distancing is one of the key methods being used to bring the Coronavirus outbreak down. It is also a keyway that people can protect themselves from Coronavirus.

Of course, for some, working will still be necessary. So, for those working it is vital that employers look at ways to maintain the social distancing guidelines set by the government. That is that a distance of at least 2m must be kept between individuals.

This should be relatively straightforward for drivers in terms of ensuring that only one individual is in a vehicle at a time. But more complexities are added when it comes to collecting and loading goods on to their vehicles. And dropping goods off for delivery.

What can be done about delivery pick up and drop off protocols?

With regards to the logistics industry government advice includes:

  • Where possible, add floor markings to detail the 2m distance that should be kept between people within warehouses etc
  • If a 2m distance cannot be maintained for logistics businesses, consider whether that activity needs to continue in the first instance. If it is vital to operations, then workers should work side by side or facing away from each other

With regards to deliveries the government advice includes:

  • No deliveries should be physically handed over to people
  • Goods should be left in an agreed drop off point
  • A safe distance from the recipient’s front door should be kept by the delivery person. This will allow the delivery person to oversee the receipt of the goods whilst maintaining social distancing
  • Drivers should not enter the recipient’s property

In both instances, employees must only come to work if they are feeling well. And if no one in their household is self-isolating. Staff should also be reminded to wash their hands frequently, for the advised 20 seconds. And hand sanitiser should be provided for times when hand washing may not be possible.

For full information of social distancing in the workplace refer to this government guide.

Anthony Jones are here to support you during this challenging time. Our staff are still working, adhering to government guidelines so you are able to contact us in the normal ways. If you have any questions about your insurance or risk management at this time, then do get in touch with us.

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