Coronavirus Advice for HGV Drivers

With the coronavirus pandemic at its peak, it has never been more important for Britain’s roads to stay open and for essential goods to reach keyworkers. As part of this effort, our team at Acclaim Logistics have helped to keep supermarket shelves stocked, and to deliver PPE to NHS staff and care workers throughout Southampton and the Isle of Wight, ensuring that essential goods reach those who need it during this unprecedented pandemic.

As keyworkers themselves, our drivers are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. In this blog, we answer key questions about COVID-19 and what you can do to help protect yourself while out completing deliveries.

Are HGV drivers “Key Personnel”?

Following the government’s announcement to foreclose any non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of coronavirus, many employees are wondering what counts as ‘essential’ and whether they should still be going into work. Since then, it has been advised that key workers include those who are involved in food distribution and delivery, and those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines). If you are unsure whether you should be going to work or not, follow the latest government guidance.

How often should I wash my hands?

The NHS and Word Health Organisation (WHO) have urged individuals to wash their hands as often as possible with soap and water for 20 seconds to avoid the spread of the virus from person-to-person. For HGV drivers this may seem unachievable as much of your day is spent on the road. If you cannot access handwashing facilities (which should be available at rest stops and service stations under driver welfare law), we advise using a hand sanitising gel containing at least 60% alcohol.

How can I keep my cab clean?

To minimise the risk of infection in the cab, drivers should regularly clean any high-contact points. Throughout your working day, you may handle items that have been in contact with someone who has contracted the virus, and although washing your hands regularly can help, disinfecting your cab at the beginning of each working day eliminates the risk of the virus living on surfaces and infecting others. Check out this list of high contact points, published by Toyota for more information. HGV drivers should also dispose of any items that may harbour bacteria, such as tissues.

Will my working hours be affected?

In this unprecedented time, daily essentials, medicine and PPE are in high demand. In order to deliver these life-saving supplies, drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, essential non-food items (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals will experience a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours in England, Scotland and Wales. To meet demand, regulations are being adjusted as follows:

  • Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of 9 hours with a limit of 11 hours;
  • Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to 9 hours;
  • Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) to 60 and 96 hours respectively;
  • Amendment of the requirement to start a weekly rest period after 6 x 24 hour periods of driving. This will now be adjusted to a weekly rest period starting after 7 x 24 hour periods of driving. However, two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight;
  • The requirements for daily breaks of 45 minutes after 4.5 hours’ driving replaced with a break of 45 minutes after 5.5 hours of driving.
  • Drivers must not use relaxation ‘a’ and ‘d’ at the same time. This is to ensure drivers can get adequate rest.

Although the objective of these relaxations is to increase efficiency, they should be practiced with caution and only used when necessary. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett commented:

“The relaxation in hours will not reduce the levels of enforcement of the drivers’ hours. It is vital that companies only use these relaxed rules when needed and companies must monitor drivers to ensure they do not drive tired or in any way unfit. The need to comply with the rules is absolute. This relaxation must be used wisely, not abused recklessly.”

About Acclaim Logistics

Established in 1993, Acclaim Logistics is an independently owned and managed logistics provider, with a fleet of over 40 vehicles and access to a large network of approved international freight forwarders. We offer a range of distribution services, ranging from same day deliveries to full artic loads, and are members of the Palletways and Palletline pallet networks, and APC Overnight (parcel network). With locations in both Cowes and Totton, we specialise in the transportation of freight to and from the Isle of Wight.

To join our team or enquire about our logistics services, contact us on: 023 8086 0722 or email: hello@acclaim-southampton.co.uk.