The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines that it says will help truckers stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States. As expected, many of the guidelines are what the general public has been told to do for weeks: practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and use protective equipment when leaving for necessary tasks. However, the guidelines are also paired with instructions designed to help truckers stay safe as they spend days away from home. The CDC hopes that these guidelines will help protect the supply chain for goods in the United States.
What Is the CDC Suggesting to Truckers?
To assist truckers, the CDC has given specific guidelines that are unique to the trucking industry.
Social distancing guidelines for trucking include the following:
- Limit time spent outside of the truck cab during fueling, loading and unloading, and at rest and truck stops.
- Use paperless, electronic invoicing for fueling, deliveries, and other tasks, when available.
- Contact facilities in advance to make an appointment for the unloading of cargo. Be aware that some facilities may not grant access to restrooms, and plan as best you can.
- Use radio/phone to talk with dock managers or other drivers, if possible.
- Pack food, water, and supplies to limit the number of stops.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Keep your truck well-ventilated.
The CDC is also suggesting that truckers wear face masks in all public settings. Additionally, it is suggesting that drivers disinfect frequently touched surfaces as often as possible.
Specifically, the CDC suggests that the following should be disinfected regularly:
- Surfaces in the cab such as driver door handle, steering wheel, seat belt, and buckle, arm and headrest, seat cover, turn signal, wiper controls, dashboard, air ducts, radio, and temperature controls
- Surfaces in a sleeper birth like light switches, mattress tray, temperature controls, and other flat surfaces
- Request that any third parties who must enter your cab disinfect it afterward
What Is the CDC Suggesting to Truck Industry Employers?
The CDC’s set of guidelines also address steps that employers should take to protect their drivers. First, employers should always encourage a driver to stay home if they are sick or think they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
They should also provide drivers with the following:
- Needed protective equipment and an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Accurate information about COVID-19, how it’s spread, and what their risk of exposure is
- Tissues and small trash cans for truck cabs
Notably, the CDC is encouraging truck operators to create special sick leave policies that are non-punitive for workers. It notes that “employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.”