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Coronavirus - Update for Members working in Road Transport

Last updated: 25 Sept

Usdaw is aware that our members across the transport industry are working extraordinarily in the current crisis. While our members are doing all they can to keep the economy going, we are clear that employers must take all possible steps to ensure your safety. In light of the Coronavirus, we have provided a summary of developments within the sector for your information along with key points on social distancing measures which should be followed at sites.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with your rep or full-time official.

Drivers’ Hours for Goods Vehicle Drivers
The Government allowed a number of relaxations from both EU and GB Domestic drivers’ hours rules to support the transport of vital goods from 23 March. Those relaxations no longer apply and drivers had to return to the standard hours from 00:01 on 1 June for EU hours and 00:01 on 15 June for domestic hours.

In accordance with usual practice, drivers must have noted on tachograph printouts or record books the reason for exceeding the normal limits.

Temporary Removal of D4 Licence Renewal.

The Government has temporarily relaxed the requirement for lorry drivers to provide a doctor’s medical report in order to renew their licence.

If your licence is due to expire in 2020, you will be able to receive a temporary 1-year licence, providing you do not have any medical conditions that affect your driving.

The licence will only be valid for 1 year, at which point you will need to submit a completed D4 form in the normal way.

If you are a driver with health issues, you must still declare these. Any drivers with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed.

Measures Employers Should Take

Employers have a legal duty of care to their workforce and all workplaces which are operational should be making adjustments to ensure that workers are safe. Your employer must have completed a risk assessment to look at the additional risks presented as a result of Coronavirus. Following the risk assessment, your employer should be putting measures in place to ensure the safety of members. How this works will vary considerably between workplaces, but some examples of measures that might be taken are listed below:

  • Restrict drivers entering transport offices.
  • Drivers to remain in cabs whilst unloading.
  • Identify and regularly clean key touch points e.g. door handles, keypads.
  • Take extra care wiping down vehicles before and after each use.
  • Clear provisions for workers to keep at least 2 metres apart at all times, in line with Government guidance.
  • Additional sinks, provision of hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment for all work stations.
  • Thorough and regular cleaning of rollcages, VDUs and other equipment.
  • Increased hours for cleaning staff.
  • Staggered shift start times, with agreement, to reduce congestion.
  • Early shift finishes, and guarantee of overtime payments, where time spent leaving the site has increased due to queues adhering to social distancing.
  • Staggered break times along with extra break rooms with adequate rest facilities and additional smoking areas to ensure social distancing.

Two Person Operations

Government guidance around safe working practices says that employers should find alternative solutions to two person operations where possible. The guidance recommends only one person should travel in a vehicle and vehicles should not be shared.

Suggested ways to manage two person operations include:

  • suspending heavy duty deliveries or
  • using two vehicles.
Where these solutions are not possible, the guidance looks at:
  • fixed pairing of two people
  • opening windows to increase ventilation and
  • sitting ‘side by side’ instead of ‘face to face’

Usdaw maintains that unless vehicles are large enough to allow adequate social distancing, sharing of vehicles should cease and alternative measures should be followed as set out above. If you are concerned about being asked to share a vehicle please contact your rep or local official.

Making Deliveries

Drivers across the sector have to make deliveries to a range of different locations which can present a number of hazards. Employers must be doing all they can to ensure your safety when making these deliveries and should be briefing you on any additional measures. There are also a number of steps you can take on a daily basis:

  • Avoid all handshakes or physical contact with anyone while on your delivery routes.
  • Before getting back into your vehicle after carrying out your delivery, sanitize your hands thoroughly and sanitize your hands regularly throughout the day.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Use antibacterial wipes to wipe down your door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, gear stick on a regular basis.
  • If you do need to use outside toilets, wipe the seat with an anti-bacterial wipe and wash your hands thoroughly with soaps and water after use.
  • Wash your hands before preparing any food or drinks.

Businesses have now removed requirements for customers to sign for goods wherever possible. Where there is a legal requirement for delivery documentation, employers must maximise the use of electronic paperwork and review procedures to enable safe exchange of paper copies where absolutely necessary.

If you have any concerns regarding your health and safety or social distancing at your site, please speak to your Usdaw rep or Official.

Access to Welfare Facilities

Drivers are entitled to use welfare facilities (handwashing, toilet facilities) at any site they visit to deliver haulage.

Although sites will have stringent social distancing measures in place, this should not prevent drivers from using welfare facilities on site.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your Usdaw rep or Official.

Freedom From Fear

As a result of the outbreak, there has been a major increase in the amount of orders placed online and Usdaw members have been working very hard to ensure goods are delivered to customers, including those who are shielding or self-isolating.

Employers should have implemented measures to protect the health and safety of drivers and customers. However, if a customer refuses to follow these measures or is abusive you must report it to your manager.

More information on safety for delivery drivers can be found here.

Usdaw – the Trade Union for Professional Drivers 

We look after the interests of Usdaw members who drive for a living; this includes representation on pay and conditions of employment. We have agreements covering drivers in companies such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Wincanton, Yodel, Hermes, Co-op, XPO, Next Distribution and DHL.

We maintain an up-to-date information system on transport matters and provide help and advice to members.

We also give you a voice through your own representative on the National Road Transport Committee – Usdaw’s national forum for transport matters.

Road Transport Distress Fund

Professional drivers spending a lot of time on the road are more likely to receive traffic offences. As a member of Usdaw, you can join the Road Transport Distress Fund for £6 per year. The fund covers members who receive work-related penalties for motoring offences. After 13 weeks’ membership of the Distress Fund you are entitled to up to three claims per year.

If you would like to join the distress fund, please contact [email protected]

If you are a member of the fund and have received an offence whilst at work, please fill in the claim form and email to [email protected]. Please ensure you include copies of the Penalty Charge Notice and proof that the fine has been paid. 

Driver’s Handbook

As a driver, you need to be kept informed of road transport laws and regulations. Usdaw has compiled a Driver’s Handbook* which provides information and advice for drivers’.

*Please note that some information will not be correct due to temporary changes as a result of the outbreak.

If you are a new driver, you should have received adequate training before you begin your new role. However, if you have any concerns please speak to your Usdaw rep. You can also use the Handbook to assist you with any general query regarding road laws and regulations.

Further Information

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for additional information and advice.

General FAQs –  http://www.usdaw.org.uk/CoronavirusFAQ 

For those with underlying health conditions and carers – http://www.usdaw.org.uk/CoronavirusVulnerableHealthFAQ 

For pregnant workers – http://www.usdaw.org.uk/Coronaviruspregnant

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