There’s no denying that the growing threat of COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on a number of industries. Although freighting is among the industries to feel the sting, it’s managed to fare better than many other enterprises. Since grocery chains, gas stations, healthcare facilities and other essential institutions depend on the freighting industry to deliver products, many freighting companies have continued to remain busy amidst this crisis.
However, given how widespread COVID-19 has become and how deadly it can be, it’s in the best interest of every company to adopt a variety of safety measures while this pandemic remains in effect.
Educate Your Workforce
It’s vitally important for operators to understand how the novel coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves against it. As such, take the time to educate your workforce on virus transmission, essential precautions and social distancing measures. The more your team knows, the better equipped they’ll be to keep themselves safe and avoid spreading the virus.
Additionally, encourage your operators to contact you if they’re unclear on any points or need a refresher in certain areas. Creating a comprehensive booklet of COVID-19 information and requiring drivers to keep a copy in their trucks at all times can help further your efforts to keep your team safe and informed.
Be a Little More Flexible with Delivery Timelines
The COVID-related precautions operators will need to take are likely to eat up a fair amount of time. That being the case, take care to exercise a little flexibility with delivery timelines. If drivers feel that making a delivery slightly later than expected will put their jobs in danger, they’re liable to choose expediency over caution. Not only does this approach put your operators’ safety at risk, it’s also conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus. While it’s perfectly natural for freighting companies to emphasize timeliness, the health of your drivers is more important than adhering to unrealistic delivery timelines.
Invest in First-Rate Supply Chain Management Software
There are numerous benefits associated with knowing where your vehicles and operators are at all times. Not only does this enable you to provide lost drivers with directions and quickly get help for drivers experiencing vehicle trouble, it also ensures that you’re able to get timely assistance for drivers who fall ill or get injured on the road. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to invest in dependable automotive supply chain management software. Given the current circumstances, knowing where your drivers are and how they’re doing has never been more important.
Develop a Plan of Action
COVID-19 is highly infectious and easily transmitted, so an operator falling ill while en route to a delivery is a very real possibility. To ensure that your company is prepared to handle such an emergency, develop a workable plan of action. This plan may involve having another operator finish the delivery or, in extreme circumstances, making arrangements for the vehicle to be towed. While having a driver get sick in the middle of a delivery is never ideal, the situation is liable to be far less stressful with a good plan in place.
Require Symptomatic Operators to Stay Home
Allowing sick and symptomatic operators to remain on the road is a danger to both your workforce and countless other individuals. With this in mind, require any operators who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms – no matter how mild – to remain at home until a medical professional clears them to return to work. Through surface contact, in-person interactions, coughing, sneezing and breathing, a single sick operator can set the stage for a large number of new infections.
Furthermore, strongly discourage operators from hiding symptoms or downplaying signs of the virus. The more time a symptomatic individual spends outside of their home, the more opportunities for infection will arise.
The novel coronavirus has caused a wide assortment of industries to take additional safety measures and adopt an extra-vigilant approach to worker well-being. Although some businesses have the luxury of remote work, hands-on industries like freighting require operators to be consistently present.
In light of the many risks drivers are taking during this pandemic, it behooves their employers to go above and beyond when it comes to keeping them safe.