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Revisit Operational Policies & Procedures After COVID-19

Clear policies and procedures in areas other than compliance can also be a roadmap to guide your actions, not only during times of crisis but even under normal operating conditions. During the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, your disaster response plans, medical emergency policies and procedures, vehicle and facility sanitization procedures, and communication methods likely had to change overnight, whether documented or not.

Any new or adapted policies and procedures to respond to various emergencies and future audits must be updated and communicated. Affected personnel must also be trained and monitored for understanding and consistent execution of the policies and procedures.

Updates into action

Once your policies and procedures have been updated, you’ll want to put them in place as soon as possible. The following are some policies to add or update, and best practices to consider adopting or revising:

Hygiene and healthy practices to reduce transmission of COVID-19

  • Hand washing and gloves — Update your handwashing policy. Wash and disinfect hands as often as possible, within reason. Gloves need to be latex (or non-latex for those who are allergic to latex).
  • Cleansing wipes — Make wipes available that are at least 60 percent alcohol to sanitize touched surfaces. Don’t use bleach products.
  • Masks — Mask requirements vary by state and by the customer, but most strongly recommend masks. Don’t use the types of masks that are needed by medical professionals.
  • Driver health — Formalize procedures for drivers reporting COVID-19 symptoms. Assess how they are feeling every day and remind them not to work unless feeling healthy and do not have a fever.
  • Shoes — Clean the soles of shoes to remove any viruses.
  • Route and workday planning — Think about where drivers are going, who they are interacting with, and what supplies they need, and reinforce the need for physical or “social” distancing when interacting with others.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) — Keep a safety stock of PPE; order and distribute PPE to drivers, mechanics, and other employees.
  • Workplace sanitation — Update sanitization procedures for office/terminal facilities and vehicles.

Operational practices

  • Digital recordkeeping — Consider digitizing all possible records in your business to reduce human touch, increase efficiency, and protect the company in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Furloughed drivers — If you have furloughed drivers, develop a plan for drivers to return to work, in groups if needed. Have a sound basis for the sequencing of who returns to work and when.
  • Employee training — Conduct training of drivers and back-office personnel on any policies and procedures that have changed. Consider implementing distance Learning Management Systems to improve timely training and reduce downtime.

Fleet safety

  • Road test — When conducting a behind-the-wheel initial driving test or a check ride, maintain physical distancing, and enhanced PPE requirements. Also, physical barriers such as plexiglass dividers between the driver and observer in the cab can be used if properly installed, or consider using a ride-behind observer with dash-cam footage to evaluate in-cab behaviors.
  • Accidents — Reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure after accidents:
    • Be prepared with an accident response kit in each vehicle.
    • Place vehicle documents in one location for law enforcement.
    • Exchange information via email or other electronic means instead of hard copies whenever possible.
    • If a vehicle is inoperable, the driver should not hitch a ride with the tow truck driver if possible. If the driver lives locally, get a family member, friend, or company associate to get the driver.

A well-trained staff, along with consistently followed policies and procedures, will instill confidence in drivers, office employees, and customers.