In its daily coronavirus email bulletin on 16 April, the association emphasised that cleaning helps minimise the coronavirus’ spread, and that the use of specialist products doesn’t negate the necessity for frequent cleaning: normal cleaning methods do kill the virus.
“Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces frequently using your company’s standard cleaning products,” the RHA advised.
“Hard surfaces that are touched often – door handles, steering wheels, gear sticks – should be cleaned more frequently in addition to standard cleaning protocols.”
Normal cleaning frequencies will need to be increased, it said; for example, if there is a high level of usage, the frequency should be doubled, and particularly when there is changeover of vehicle crews.
“Staff should also be reminded of the need for good hand and respiratory hygiene, and to avoid touching their face,” said the guidance.
“Staff who are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus should not be working.
“Staff who are in a vulnerable group should be supported to follow social distancing guidance. Staff who are in an extremely vulnerable group should be shielded and supported to stay at home.”
Advice on cab sharing was also issued.
“It is unlikely that maintaining the recommended two-metre distance in a vehicle cab will be possible, so ideally there should be only one person in the cab,” said the RHA.
“Where this is not possible, workers should keep the window open for ventilation and should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times.
“Facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of transmission. Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.
“They should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer before getting into, or after getting out of, the vehicle, or use hand sanitiser.”
It was also important to remind staff to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues, the association said.
“Provide hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them,” it advised.
“As far as possible, where staff are split into teams, organise these in such a way that where contact is unavoidable, it happens between the same individuals.
“Keep teams as small as possible. Spread out standard processes, so that only one team is needed to complete a task at a given time.”
“Staff should still be advised to maintain a two-metre distance from each other as much as possible.”
In further advice published on the RHA’s coronavirus portal last month, the RHA advised drivers and staff at delivery and collection points to ensure minimum two-metre distances were kept between individuals; to touch as little as possible; and to follow handwashing guidelines. If possible, hand sanitiser or soap should be available in the cab.
“Drivers should use gloves where possible and follow guidance on how to remove them without contamination,” said RHA.
“At both the start and end of your shift, wipe down all cab surfaces. This includes steering wheel, gearstick, dashboard, handles, any other surfaces where the virus could make contact with a person.
“Ensure drivers have food and water as back-up in case of low supplies in food stores and/or motorway service areas.”
It advised that disposable or other gloves – or paper towels, if no gloves were available – should be used when refuelling.
Hands should be washed immediately after refuelling, the guidance suggested. “If possible, use hand sanitiser.”
The risk of transferring the virus via the passing of documentation should also be considered, the association advised.
“If the customer agrees, instead of signing documents, consider asking the customer to send you/your company an email confirming delivery, or using your mobile phone to provide photographic evidence of delivery.
“Use your own pen to sign documentation. Do not share your pen with anyone. Ask the customer to use their own pen.
“Ensure minimal contact with any piece of paper.”
For lorry drivers who feel unwell while on the road, the RHA advised that they should: “(a) stop, (b) find a safe location to park your vehicle [and] (c) immediately inform your company and ask for instructions.”
A wealth of advice to help businesses protect staff is also available at the government’s coronavirus portal.