With the Government keen to get businesses, and the economy, moving again, fleet operators are now looking at ways to keep their van drivers safe. We have a few suggestions.
Before you do anything else…
You need to check your vehicles and your drivers.
For the vehicles, if they’ve not been used for several weeks, you’ll need to make sure that they will be safe on the road, particularly if they’ve had their MOTs deferred. We have a short 9 point checklist that could help:
- Fluids: Check brake fluid, windscreen, oil reserves.
- Windscreen: Is there any damage on the drivers view? Are your wipers clearing the windscreen?
- Brakes: Do they feel loose or unresponsive? Is there tension in the handbrake?
- Lights: Are all lights fully working?
- Exhaust: Does it produce any unusual noises or abnormal smoke?
- Steering: Is your steering responsive?
- Dashboard: Always check for warning lights on the dashboard – and read the manual to see what they mean.
- Suspension: When applying weight to the corner of the vehicle does it quickly spring back into position?
- Tyres: Check tyre pressure and tyre tread (legal minimum: 1.6mm).
It’s even more important to consult with your drivers. Some may have underlying health conditions that you need to plan for or worries that you should address. Please remember you have a duty of care to think about their physical and mental wellbeing.
Carry out a risk assessment
Another reason to talk with your drivers is that they will know about the circumstances and situations they face every day. It’s their job, after all. This information will play an integral role in your risk assessment. There’s a lot to think about, such as:
- Limiting passengers in business vehicles (such as work minibuses) or having empty seats to allow for social distancing.
- Assigning fixed groups of workers to the same transportation routes where sole travel is not possible.
Consider shielding equipment
There are different approaches depending on who is being shielded:
For double-cab-in-van vehicles (DCIV)
Convertors have been quick to adapt and have developed a Cab Shield that allows the driver to sit alone in the front, with a passenger behind them. While we know that this might not be right for every situation some might be interested in this option as a safe way to get back to work quickly.
For organisations using minibuses
We can offer options that have separate and enclosed seating for social distancing. This vastly reduces the risk of transmission, while allowing companies to help employees get to work.
For teams of two who usually travel together in two-seater or three-seater vans
We can offer low rental rates on cars from our rental partners that meet our strict hygiene and safety standards. This means your teams can stay mobile, but you don’t have to make costly or unproven changes to existing vehicles or commit to long-term replacements.
There has also been a lot of work done on plastic partitions in cab areas separating drivers from passengers. We would suggest that anyone considering this take a close look at their chosen approach and supplier, as they vary in how they work. First, you want to see how air flows around the partition, as if it moves easily, the driver and passengers may still need to wear a face mask. Next, you want to ensure that as much physical contact as possible is blocked between the driver and passenger.
It’s worth remembering that any additional equipment, including shields will add additional weight to the vehicle, which could impact payload.
Keeping surfaces clean
Make sure there is enough hand sanitiser and wipes in the van for drivers to clean their hands after deliveries and drop-offs. These can also be used to clean fuel pumps and vehicle keys before and after handling.
In addition, it could be a good idea to have a formal policy for cleaning surfaces within vans, as this could help ensure that all necessary sanitisation is carried out to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Helpful resources for van operators
We hope you have found these suggestions useful. If you’d like more ideas, you may find these links helpful:
Find out more
You can speak to a member of our expert Commercial Vehicle team by emailing email@example.com or take a look at our commercial vehicle related resources here.