Coronavirus measures should be added to standard fleet risk management policies, with new government advice for professional drivers providing an initial source of information.
The call comes from fleet software specialist FleetCheck, which said the ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in or from a Vehicle’, issued this week, seemed to form a relatively sensible framework to manage the possibility of infection around the use of company vehicles.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “There is undoubtedly an argument for integrating the Government’s strategies and more into your overall, written risk management policy. Until there is a vaccine or a cure for coronavirus, it is going to have be managed and you should have a written infrastructure.”
While Golding said many fleets had already adopted a range of measures on an ad hoc basis, he added that the new official guidance provided a means to build on this improvisational approach.
The advice is aimed at people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar. It sets out advice on risk approaches, cleaning, PPE, social distancing at work and cleaning the workplace.
Golding also explained that coronavirus measures should be added to standard fleet risk management policies, including for grey fleet drivers and shared vehicles.
He commented: “The fact is that coronavirus is going to be very much part of everyday fleet management for the foreseeable future and that businesses need to tackle the issue as proactively as possible.”
He continued: “Over time, and especially following the government guidance, we expect to see a consensus develop across the industry about how all of these issues are handled but that dialogue is still very much underway. Certainly, we are having conversations every day with our fleet customers about new aspects of their management of the risks involved.
“We are also looking at how to adapt our products for this situation and are currently working on a ‘Ready for the Road’ app that includes provision for fleet managers to send push messages to employees with a ‘read and understood’ confirmation for new policies.”
Golding also said that while initial thinking indicated that there was probably not a strong legal aspect to the risk management of the virus for employers – as it would always be difficult to know and prove where and when someone became infected – there was certainly an “ethical and operational question”.
He finished: “As people start to return to work – something that may be happening very soon in sectors like manufacturing and construction – it will be a matter of ensuring that employees feel they can use company vehicles with a relatively high degree of confidence.”