COVID-19: SAFE PRACTICES AND RESOURCES FOR TRUCKIES
As Australia races to contain COVID-19, many measures have been put in place by federal, state and territory governments. These measures include self-isolation, restrictions on non-essential gatherings and the shutdown of non-essential services such as pubs, clubs and gyms.
In times of need, essential goods and services still need to be delivered to keep the nation going, whether in the form of medical supplies, food, ecommerce, or services such as waste collection and property maintenance.
With the necessary practice of self-isolation ongoing, this means some of us don’t have the ability to access goods and services directly. This has placed greater demand on last mile delivery, and of course, on our trucking industry.
No different to pre-COVID-19 everyday life, Aussie truckies are there to answer our call.
Truck drivers are a part of the front line in the global COVID-19 pandemic, especially in countries like Australia where road freight and distribution are vital to keeping goods and services moving.
For our truckies, an average work day now involves not only clocking up the kilometres on the road, but also coming face-to-face with the day’s unknowns, ranging from road and state border closures to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truckies play a pivotal role in our supply chain, and with the nature of their work seeing them constantly on the move and traveling in and out of populated areas… Now, more than ever, is the time for truckies to be on top of the best safe work practices, which all help to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
First things first
It’s always useful to be up to date on the latest information on COVID-19 and how it is spread.
According to the Department of Health, COVID-19 can spread from person to person in the following ways:
- Close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)
- Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
- Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face
Safe practice, best practice
Wash your hands frequently
It’s simple: wash your hands—thoroughly and frequently.
This is especially important for trucks that see multiple drivers, and for those drivers whose truck will come into contact with several different people, such as during the loading and unloading process.
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, and drying with a paper towel or using a hand dryer, has been proven to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
The virus is encased in a protective lipid (fatty) bilayer, and soaps possess the chemicals needed to break down this protective layer, killing the virus.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (with at least 60% alcohol).
Wipe down your truck
Keep a packet of disinfectant wipes or a bottle of hand sanitiser in your cab and wipe all commonly touched surfaces every time you get into your truck.
Here are some areas to look out for and give them regular cleaning throughout the day:
- Keys or fob
- Door handles, safety handles and locks
- Storage or toolbox handles and locks
- Safety grab handles
- Steering wheel and indicators
- Hand brake and gear stick
- Buttons on the in-cab entertainment system
- Rear-view mirror and sun visors
- Cup holders
Keeping the interior surfaces of your truck clean is an important step, and don’t forget to clean your hands before getting into and out of your truck!
Source: Australian Government Department of Health
As far as the job will allow, try to limit your contact with the outside world (and its germs).
Social distancing has been one of the key focuses, as we all play our part to counter the pandemic. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected people and/or surfaces, so social distancing not only protects others, but also protects you.
Some tips to achieve workable social distancing:
- Don’t shake hands with work mates or customers anymore. Instead, just say g’day from a distance of at least 1.5 metres.
- Deliver goods by dropping off at a pre-designated area that doesn’t require physical contact with others. Take photos of the deliveries as a safety net.
- If in a last mile delivery situation, drop your delivery at the front door, ring the doorbell and stand back to gain visual acknowledgement of the delivery. Follow your employer’s guidelines on safe delivery distancing at all times.
If you can still find some, have a packet of disposable gloves handy, so if you need to touch an unknown area or handle goods previously touched by others, you can do so safely.
Just remember not to touch your face with the gloves on and dispose of the gloves immediately after use.
Good hygiene practices. Source: Australian Government Department of Health
Use your elbow… politely
This is an important one. As mentioned above, COVID-19 is primarily spread through droplets from sneezing and coughing.
You mightn’t think this one is relevant to you, but symptoms of COVID-19 might not appear for a few days (and for some, signs and symptoms don’t appear at all), you might be carrying the virus without even knowing it.
So, when you need to let one loose, use a tissue to cover your mouth/nose and dispose of that tissue immediately. If a tissue isn’t handy or you can’t locate it in time, sneeze or cough into the inside crook of your elbow or upper sleeve.
As always, wash your hands after!
An apple a day, and so on
We know all too well how long the days can be—long hours on the road or at a site.
Some easy steps to take are to drink plenty of water, exercise, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy and stop smoking.
Keeping on top of the current news, advice and best practices from government sites (such as www.australia.gov.au), as well as the World Health Organization’s website, will help you keep ahead of what measures to take.
If you are worried or suspect you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or go through the government’s COVID-19 Symptom Checker.
- Coughing or sneezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
The official COVID-19 app from the Australian Government
Apps and sites
Here’s a list of useful apps and sites to help keep you informed on COVID-19 in Australia.
- Coronavirus Australia
This is an app recently launched by the Australian government, which allows you to access basic health advice and updates on COVID-19.
- WhatsApp feature
Recently launched by the government, this WhatsApp feature lets you easily access the latest updates and information on the COVID-19 situation.
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Health Direct
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Australian Capital Territory
- Northern Territory
These are uncertain, stressful times we’re in, and the effects of social distancing, self-isolation can affect our mental wellbeing. And to add to that, truckies are under a lot of pressure to get the job done, and get the job done safely, for themselves and their communities.
Reaching out for support is important.
Below is a list of resources to help support mental wellbeing.
- Beyond Blue | 1300 224 636
- Lifeline | 13 11 14
- MindSpot Clinic | 1800 61 44 34
- Headspace | 1800 650 890
For Isuzu Australia Limited’s COVID-19 update, see here.