Long Haul Truck Drivers face unique challenges when it comes to Covid-19 and its spread, especially during the reopening of many cities. Increased demand in supply movement has left many drivers working longer hours. Drivers spend much of their time alone in their cab. But some aspects of the job require them to expose themselves to others. And heightened exposure comes with greater risk of contagion.
Phased reopening comes at a price; the number of cases in many cities is now on the rise. If you or a loved one are currently navigating the tricky road of long haul driving during the pandemic, you may be experiencing some anxiety. Thankfully, the CDC has laid out some specific guidelines to help protect truck drivers. Read their tips and suggestions below.
Long Haul Truck Drivers’ Covid-19 Safety Tips
The virus transfers between hosts through tiny droplets and particles. Touching shared surfaces or being within six feet of an infected person comes with certain risks. We know you can only limit your exposure to others so much while working, so follow these CDC-recommended protocols to stay safe.
When to Stay Home
As you likely know, Covid-19 can be asymptomatic. Not everyone who is infected even knows they are sick. Typically, if symptoms are going to show up, they will do so between 3-14 days after exposure. If you know you have been exposed, you will need to self-quarantine and likely get tested. If you are showing symptoms, call your employer and stay home. And if a family member shows symptoms, contact your supervisor.
Have a Plan
Let’s say you’re out on the road and start to feel a little under the weather. Being caught with a groggy head and no plan of action can be extremely stressful. So, talk to your family and your supervisor ahead of time and create a plan. Decide where you will stay. Have someone who can give you information about the nearest medical facilities and how to get treatment. And make arrangements to have your employer ready to handle your freight.
Limit shared surfaces and close physical contact as much as possible. Look into electronic notifications and invoicing. Avoid spending time outside of your cab when possible. Use radio and telephone communication with your co-workers, clients, and employers as much as possible. Pack to limit the number of stops you’ll need to make. Arrange plans to unload cargo ahead of time and abide by social distancing rules. Keep your cab well-ventilated. Disinfect items others have touched. If sharing a cab, wear masks and avoid sharing bedding. And wash your hands as much as you can.
What Can Your Employer Do?
Employers should be encouraging sick drivers to stay home. If a driver receives a positive Covid-19 test result, they should not be asked or allowed to return to work until all of the CDC self-isolation and recovery criteria have been met. Providing training about proper hygiene and steps to avoid disease spread can help to save lives.
Supply drivers with proper PPE equipment. The less items people are sharing, the better. This includes any necessary hard hats, safety glasses, vests, etc. If ride-alongs are necessary, employers should look into installing removable barriers to limit contact between drivers.
As cities continue to reopen and people return to public gatherings, taking extra precautions can help to protect long haul truck drivers on the front lines of this pandemic.