How to stay safe when loading and unloading amid Coronavirus

There’s a lot to think about when loading or unloading a van - taking steps to reduce your Coronavirus risk can now be added to the list. Thankfully, with a few simple precautions you can stay safe and get on with your job.

How does Coronavirus spread?

We all know that Coronavirus can be transmitted on people’s breath, or through sneezing and coughing. It can also be spread by touching surfaces that someone else has recently touched, then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.
Carefully thinking through the procedures involved in loading or unloading a van, such as opening doors, taking a signature, or speaking to someone, can help to identify ways you can stay safe and keep others safe, too.
When you’re using your van, you have to think about finding an address, parking, finding the right person at a site and taking goods from your vehicle – often under time pressure. It’s easy to make a slip when you’re busy, so make sure you have a plan of action to reduce your risk.
Coronavirus is not only potentially deadly – if you fall sick, it will also impact your business. If you have a driving conviction, van insurance for convicted drivers is already an added expense. Doing all you can to avoid Coronavirus makes sense for your business as well as your health.

What facilities should be provided for drivers during Coronavirus?

The official advice says that those operating sites where loading or unloading takes place should take ‘reasonable steps’ to protect the health and safety of drivers who are delivering and collecting.
This means that, as far as possible, social distancing should be maintained and drivers should be given access to facilities such as toilets and handwashing basins.

Some sites have been reluctant to grant access to these facilities to delivery drivers, thinking that this increases the risk of those who work on-site; in reality, ensuring drivers have good hygiene and clean hands reduces risk for everyone.
If a site refuses you access to handwashing facilities or toilets, refer them to government advice on the subject. A delivery driver who is unable to keep their hands clean could unintentionally spread the virus around multiple sites through the country, which is a very serious matter.

Using a waiting room

Some sites may have waiting rooms or restrooms for drivers to use. These can be important to ensure drivers manage a different kind of risk – driving while tired. Waiting rooms and restrooms should be arranged to allow for social distancing, with clear guidance on what rules drivers should follow.
A lot of this is common sense – ensure that you have clean hands when using a waiting room, don’t touch objects or surfaces unless you have to, and keep as much space between you and other drivers as possible.
If you think a waiting room is too busy or has not been cleaned well enough, it might be better to wait outside in the fresh air or inside your van rather than take unnecessary risk.
 A delivered parcel left on a table in a waiting room

How can you reduce your own risk?

There are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk of getting Coronavirus while using your van. Firstly, we all have a responsibility to act on signs of sickness such as a temperature or a persistent cough.

Even if you feel able to work, you should follow government guidelines and stay at home to avoid putting others at risk.
Find ways to reduce contact while making deliveries or pick ups with your van. If you can, do not go within two metres of anyone while you are on a site.

Communicate using a phone or other remote method such as texting or emails, rather than discussing something in person. Where possible, avoid using paper systems for invoices, delivery notes and similar documents and do not shake hands with people.
When you set out on a journey, make sure you have food, water and other supplies with you so you do not need to stop unnecessarily. Visiting a shop or service station will not only increase your risk, it will also take up valuable time. If you do stop, be sure to use hand sanitiser before and after.
Keeping your vehicle clean is also important – there is not much point in washing your hands regularly if your steering wheel, gear stick or car door handles are never cleaned!

Use disinfectant wipes or a spray and cloth regularly on any points of the car you touch often, such as controls, the dashboard, steering wheel, door handles, temperature controls and volume knobs. Keeping your windows open for better ventilation is also a good idea.
It is advisable to wear a mask when unloading and unloading, and you may wish to use disposable gloves.

Hygiene is good for business

Your customers will understand that you need to take precautions to stay safe during the pandemic. Being open and proactive in how you approach risk management needn’t be a drain on your time – it could actually be a business asset!
Contact customers ahead of time setting out how you plan to manage loading and unloading – for example, how you will tell the customer you have arrived, your procedure for managing any documentation and whether you are likely to need handwashing facilities or a toilet.
You could provide reassurance on the measures you are taking to manage risk, such as regular cleaning, using a mask and putting goods aside for a set period to reduce risk. Customers will be pleased to know you are a responsible trader, which will give them a positive view of you and your business.
 A delivery driver wearing a mask delivering a package to a door

Van insurance for convicted drivers

If you have a driving conviction, it can be hard to find affordable van insurance. Here at Insurance Factory, we know that the past is the past and we can help you find competitive van insurance for a price that won’t break the bank.
Insurance Factory offers van insurance for convicted drivers at competitive rates, so you can make sure you stay on the road during the pandemic and beyond.
Get a quick quote today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.