Truck drivers are essential for the movement of goods all over Canada. Because of their vital role in the economy and the overall convenience of the public, making sure they are at the pink of health is a priority. Drivers and their companies are asked to comply with trucking safety and compliance amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Trucking Concerns in Canada
Amid the stricter protocols and self-quarantine measures being established to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has heightened its call for governments to give truck drivers the courtesy as part of the “essential service” sector. At the onset of the pandemic, the government put in place protocols requiring drivers that have left the country to self-quarantine even if they have not tested positive for the virus.
The CTA says this will put a halt to the economy and greatly affect the safety of Canadians. These measures were raised after the government said non-essential travel outside the country should be avoided. It is worth noting that 70% of Canada’s trade with the United States is by truck — that is, 30,000 truck rolls on an average day.
Because of the economic damage resulting from the prolonged disruption of the flow of truck deliveries, truck operators have rallied themselves to continue operations. However, this does not mean that drivers would be left out in the dark and at high risk of contracting the virus.
To help drivers with their journey and keep them safe, trucking companies like Ready Machinery are doing our fair share of imposing safety practices. Here are some measures adopted by some:
Giving Access to Hygiene Facilities
One of the best ways to combat COVID-19 is to keep your body and surroundings clean. According to the World Health Organization, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management are vital in keeping the virus from infecting people or from being passed on to others. However, their frequent road travels can make basic hygiene a luxury.
When driving long distances, truck drivers often have to do most of their business in the truck. This includes sleeping and relieving themselves into plastic bottles when a truck stop is not available. While some trucks have a portable toilet facility, water accessibility may prove problematic. Ensuring that they have access to ample water supply must be a priority.
Additionally, either the company or the truck drivers themselves must provide other hygiene necessities like alcohol and soap — a necessary measure since the simple act of handwashing can break the coronavirus infection chain.
Disinfecting the Truck
These days, it has become essential for people to disinfect their homes, possessions, and in the truck driver’s case, their trucks. Truck owners and drivers should know that their vehicles may not be free from viral contaminants even if the owner or driver is asymptomatic. Studies have suggested that the novel coronavirus can survive up to 3 days on contaminated metal surfaces. Before starting on your journey, make it a part of your routine to clean your vehicle.
Disinfect using soap or other cleaning agents. Be mindful of the materials you have inside since cleaning agents can damage them. Use cleaners specifically for surfaces like glass, metal, leather, cloth, and synthetic upholstery. Finish it up with isopropyl alcohol.
Observing Social Distancing
Social distancing is the imposed space between people. Keep a distance of at least 2 meters away from others. Since the virus can be transmitted from person to person, social distancing can slow down its spread. Truck drivers, although they are mostly alone during the trip, will still have to deal with people in truck stops and delivery destinations. They need to observe social distancing so that they can protect themselves from others who may be infected by it.
If drivers are working in pairs, scheduling shifts would help prevent them from having close contact with each other.
Making Medical Treatment More Available
There are new technological devices that now give truck drivers access to medical treatment on the road. To encourage safety in trucking amid the COVID-19 outbreak, they must be armed with these devices. Most trucks now have communication technologies that do not just track the movement of the vehicle but also give drivers better communication avenues to reach headquarters. If they show symptoms along the way, headquarters could direct them to the nearest doctor or hospital to seek treatment.
Ensuring That Drivers Are Taking Care of Themselves
Truck drivers are also encouraged to do the following:
Stock up on Healthy Food
The age-old adage that health is wealth rings true, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Most truck drivers bring a stash of food to last them the whole trip, but these may not necessarily be healthy. There is no concrete evidence that specific dietary factors can reduce the risk of getting infected, but eating healthy can boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s natural protection against the virus.
The drivers, their companies, and their loved ones are asked to help pack and provide healthy food options for the drivers. Incorporating a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals into truck drivers’ diet helps a lot. Do not forget to add a healthy amount of lean meat, fruits, and vegetables into their diet plan. Having canned or frozen food also helps, especially if they are travelling extremely long distances.
Get Enough Rest
Truck drivers do not get to have enough rest even if they drive sleeper cabs. Fatigue and sleep deprivation are some of the main concerns in the industry. Canadian truck drivers, on average, drive 13 hours with less than 8 hours off, making it difficult for them to get enough sleep and rest. However, they still performed well in their tasks.
As part of trucking safety regulations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, drivers should be given ample time to rest. Measures are being taken to open more rest areas. Additionally, if the company allows, shorter driving hours could be given to drivers if they are driving with a partner. This way, they have ample time to rest in between trips.
Keeping themselves in good shape is another way truck drivers can avoid getting sick. Experts from all over the world have emphasized the role of exercise in a healthy lifestyle; truck drivers are no exception. Since they are driving for extended hours, they need to keep fit to preserve their energy and reflexes. An exercise routine will keep them in good shape physically and mentally while reducing their chances of succumbing to the virus.
In these trying times, both clients and truck drivers can trust that Ready Machinery is with them along the way. The safety of our clients and drivers is our priority. We offer our drivers a safe work environment together with attractive benefits.
While we are living in difficult times, we make sure to contribute to combatting this crisis by continuing operations. You may contact us by filling up the contact form or by making a call at (905)-875-1990.
The novel coronavirus may be keeping the whole world on its toes, but the trucking industry, as part of the frontline essential services, will stay on to bring the needs of people within reach. While truck drivers work hard to do their job, we can do our share by staying at home.