At the time of this post, COVID-19 has swept the entire globe leaving few countries untouched. In the United States, almost seven million cases have been reported with 190,000 casualties. In this situation, trucking has been an example of pandemic protection.
There is no denying how this global crisis will change the face of most industries and supply chains. Nevertheless, the world seems to have stood still for almost half of 2020. With six months down the drain, the last few weeks have seen the lifting of restrictions in order to resuscitate the economy.
Despite the ease in limitations, we must not let our guards down. Thankfully, the trucking industry seems to be paving the way in ensuring safety and protection during the pandemic.
Considering the travel requirements involved for people who are in the trucking field, it is no wonder why most of the industry players began implementing safety regulations as early as February. Even with the scarcity in surgical masks around April, drivers acknowledged the importance of protection and resorted to bandanas and homesewn masks. The response of the industry has been swift and pervasive – so much so that as early as May 73% of fleets had provided PPE and masks for their employees.
Because of the diligence of most fleet companies, COVID cases in the trucking industry have been manageable. Recent research has shown that only 2 in 1000 individuals within the trucking field have tested positive for coronavirus. According to Kim Beck, an insurance broker for Cottingham & Butler present during the Truckload Carriers Association’s Virtual Safety and Security Meeting in June, the low number of cases is due largely to promptness of the industry’s response to the pandemic:
“We have seen a pretty low frequency of positive tests in the trucking industry. I think, for the most part, y’all are doing a really fantastic job getting in front of this and have from day one been very cautious about the risks you’re exposing your drivers and employees to, and because of that, it’s been less of an issue we thought at first” quipped Beck.
Wearing masks has shown to be an effective defense against the spread of COVID-19. Nevertheless, there are other guidelines that you can implement in your workplace in order to prevent coronavirus transmission.
Aside from equipping your drivers with masks, providing them with sanitizers and alcohol would also halt the spread of the disease. It is also a good idea to implement more rigorous vehicle cleaning guidelines, particularly focused on the cab. Drivers are required to clean and sanitize the trucks before handing it off to another driver or back to the garage.
Likewise, imposing stricter implementation of rest and off times is necessary. People who lack rest and sleep have a higher chance of contracting the virus because their immunity is compromised. The 10-hour minimum break should be followed without any exceptions.
COVID-19 has disrupted the way most industries run but this doesn’t mean that the world should remain in stasis. The way the trucking industry has responded to the global pandemic should serve as an example for all other fields.