Which couriers are still able to operate during the lockdown?

The current Coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to either close temporarily or move their entire teams to a remote working setup.
Still, it’s ‘business as usual’ for a number of professions, many of them falling under the ‘key worker’ category.

Delivery drivers are among them, with the government recently recognising the vital role that couriers play in keeping the nation fed and provisioned, writes HSS.
Understandably, there has been a huge spike in the number of home deliveries during lockdown. As a result, couriers have been hailed as the ‘unsung heroes’ of the pandemic, as they work incredibly hard to make sure communities get what they need.
With an influx in home deliveries comes the requirement for more people to work as couriers during this time and potentially beyond.

This presents an opportunity for people who are out of work – potentially due to the pandemic – to find temporary part- or full-time work as a delivery driver. A driving licence is all that’s needed to get started on what could become a long-term career.
If you think you’d benefit from a courier job – either temporarily or permanently – here is some information you may find useful.

Which companies are recruiting?

Basically, all types of couriers are able to operate during the lockdown.

This includes delivery drivers for things like the Post Office, online retailers, online supermarket shopping and food delivery for closed restaurants running a temporary takeaway service.
The pandemic has increased demand not just for couriers in general, but also certain types of delivery drivers. For example, the NHS recently advertised hundreds of driver vacancies, though not all were paid.
As well as holding a driving licence and being legally able to work in the UK, many of the roles require drivers to be at least 18 or sometimes 21 years old. Drivers may also be asked to pass a background and criminal record check, which may involve a review of your driving history.
The easiest way to see if there are any vacancies is to search the job sites or the web page of the company you’re interested in working for.

Employer welfare responsibilities

If you sign up to work as a courier for a certain company, that company is required by law to provide you with access to welfare facilities in the premises you visit as part of the role.
The HSE explains how it received reports of drivers not being permitted to use these facilities by the employer when they were delivering.

Not granting access is actually against the law – not only that, but it’s not a very sensible move, explains HSE.

Truckers, in particular, have expressed concern over their safety and welfare when carrying out their jobs during the pandemic.

Speaking to Vincent Wood of the Independent, trucker Rob Wood said he “wouldn’t let an animal go to the toilet that we’ve got to go to.”
Rob believes that ever since the virus struck, there has been a huge shift in the way he and fellow drivers have been treated by the companies he supplies.

The guidelines of a multinational firm, seen by The Independent, explained that delivery drivers are not permitted to visit staff toilets or canteens under company policy.
Yet as the HSE explains, employers already offering staff access to toilets and handwashing facilities are advised to continue doing so.
Thorough hand-washing has been recommended by the government to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Meaning, employers who don’t allow staff to use hand-washing facilities could be indirectly contributing to spreading the infection.

Ultimately, they’re putting their employees at risk, as well as everyone who they come into contact with.

Quick safety tips for courier drivers

If you decide to take a temporary job as a delivery driver, your employer has a responsibility to ensure your welfare.

However, there are a number of things that you can do to keep safe while you’re delivering goods from A to B. Some of them include:
  • Ensuring a safe distance between yourself and customers when delivering goods to their home. For instance by leaving the package on their doorstep, knocking on the door then stepping back at least two metres.
  • Keeping things such as hand sanitizer in your delivery van with you. Just bear in mind that this should never replace thorough hand washing using suitable hand soap.
  • Washing your hands using soap, for at least 20 seconds, when possible (for instance when stopping at a service station). This is especially important if you stop for lunch – make sure your hands are clean before and after eating.
  • Being mindful of where you park when delivering goods – try to choose less crowded areas if possible.
  • If applicable, maintaining distance between fellow couriers when collecting goods from the main warehouse.
  • If applicable, staying outside of restaurants when collecting food – only going inside when the food is ready.
  • Speaking with your employer if you’re concerned over your welfare to see if there are additional steps they can take to increase employee safety.
  • If applicable, ensuring that payments from customers at their doors are contactless i.e. using contactless card payments rather than exchanging physical cash.
  • If applicable, wiping down your van with disinfectant at the end of your shift – paying particular attention to the door handles. You may wish to use a product on the steering wheel as well.

Van insurance for convicted drivers

It goes without saying that if you’re planning to take up a job as a delivery driver during the pandemic, then you need to get the right level of insurance before you can get out on the road.

If you committed a driving offence in the past then we can help you to secure van insurance for convicted drivers.
Here at Insurance Factory, we want to help keep things ticking along in any way we can.

We are currently able to offer 30-day, short-term policies (third-party only) at competitive rates, for all types of courier drivers to enable them to keep working through the lockdown.
Get a quote today.