Kelly Friel from tool and personal protective equipment supplier Zoro shares her top tips for keeping your delivery drivers safe and keep up with demand during the Covid-19 outbreak.
With the UK being on lockdown, and people now only being able to leave their homes for essential trips, the general public are increasingly turning to online retailers to get what they need. And more and businesses are also having to adapt to offer an ecommerce option in order to survive. Of course, this means that delivery fleets are under more pressure than ever while extra precautions also need to be taken to keep drivers and customers safe.
It can be difficult to work out exactly what you need to be doing to protect your fleet and keep up with demand – especially because the current situation is unprecedented. But there are some steps you can take to keep your fleet healthy and performing at their best.
Vehicle maintenance remains a priority
This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget about maintaining your vehicles while you’re already struggling to keep up with demand.
However, while taking a van or lorry off the road for maintenance might seem like a luxury you just can’t afford at the moment, you’ll be in a much worse position in the event of longer vehicle downtime from a breakdown, so view regular maintenance as an investment – as well as a necessity in terms of driver safety.
If a separate company usually maintains your vehicles, keep in frequent contact with them, so you’re always in the loop about whether their staff are still working. If they aren’t, you could look at temporarily bringing mechanics in-house. There are a lot of skilled people out there looking for temporary work to tide them over.
Provide your delivery drivers with the right PPE
Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, it’s your responsibility as an employer to take all reasonable steps to keep your staff safe. And, while you should have already put all of the necessary measures in place to keep your workers safe on a regular day, it’s vital that you ramp up your efforts during this pandemic.
For example, it’s a good idea to provide your staff with masks and gloves. It’s also important that you conduct fit tests to ensure that your staff’s masks are fit for purpose, and that they’re being worn correctly. The Health and Safety Executive has a guide on how to conduct a fit test for masks safely and effectively. It’s also worth regularly reminding your staff that cross-contamination can still happen when wearing gloves if they make contact with anything they might later touch with bare hands. And, they should still wash or sanitise their hands just as often as they would without gloves.
Let your staff know that you’ll welcome feedback on the PPE you’re providing them with, too. You’ll want to know if it isn’t working for them, or if they need more.
Ensure you and your staff are following the Government’s guidelines on deliveries
You can help to keep your workers safe by ensuring that they’re all following the Government’s guidelines on deliveries — particularly when it comes to social distancing.
The main points include that no deliveries should be handed over directly to the customer. Instead, packages should be left outside, and drivers should move at least 2m away from the door. Although, items shouldn’t be left unattended, and your workers should make sure that they have been received. If possible, you should also let recipients know when their delivery is likely to arrive, and make sure that your drivers have a contact number for the people they will be delivering to, just in case they don’t get an answer.
Make sure your delivery vehicles are disinfected at the end of every shift
If your drivers don’t have a designated vehicle, so they’re passed between workers, you need to ensure the interiors are disinfected at the end of every shift. Most frequently touched surfaces, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, and seatbelts, and going to be the most troublesome areas if a member of your staff does happen to pick up the virus, so make sure you focus on these.
It’s also a good idea to equip your staff with disinfectant wipes that they can use when they first get into a new vehicle, as well as during their shifts.
It’s incredibly important that you take steps to protect your delivery fleet during this pandemic. Not only is it your duty to keep your employees safe, but keeping your workers and their vehicles in good shape will give you the best possible chance of being able to keep up with the demand for your services.