Post COVID-19 Vehicle Sanitation and Safe-Distance Maintenance
Getting back to business following the impacts of the COVID-19 virus will likely include ways to keep employees safe on a day-to-day basis. Extra sanitation measures must be considered, and now might be a good time to consider digitizing your operation to help with social distancing aspects. The following are recommended best practices as you return to (and move forward with) your operations.
The Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) updated Recommended Practice (RP) 443, In-Cab Cleaning and Deodorizing Guidelines, to provide fleets a method to effectively and efficiently sanitize vehicles.
In addition, below is information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to clean and sanitize during an outbreak. You may already have or want to consider some of these requirements as permanent changes to your vehicle preparation procedures. Inactivating or reducing viruses on a surface can reduce the chances of hand contamination, transfer of the virus, and possible infections in workers.
Disinfecting Cabs and Trailers
To disinfect hard surfaces (plastic and metal) in the cab of a vehicle, clean them with soap or detergent to remove dirt, rinse with clear water, and use disinfectants to inactivate flu viruses (including COVID-19).
Use a disinfecting wipe or spray to clean commonly touched items such as pens, bar-code scanning devices, steering wheels, shift knobs, door handles, etc.
For cargo trailers, clean and sanitize surfaces that are touched often or are suspected to be contaminated, such as the door handles and the inside of the trailer.
Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and read the manufacturer’s directions first when using cleaning products; pay attention to hazard warnings on the labels and instructions for proper disposal.
Reducing face-to-face interactions in the shop
To minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread, many shops adjusted work procedures, sanitization processes, personal protective equipment requirements, staffing, and maintenance-area spacing to allow for physical distances of six feet or more. Also, many adopted electronic estimates, work orders, and job assignments. All, or nearly all, interactions with the shop were changed from in-person and paper to electronic. Changes that seemed temporary may likely become permanent updates to your policies and procedures.
Returning to (a new) normal
We are living through unprecedented times, and now may be a great time to reevaluate current practices. With careful planning we might all develop daily operations that help us work smarter, efficiently, and most importantly, safely.