No industry has been spared from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Schools closed, businesses shut down, and everyone has been encouraged to stay at home. Through all these, select establishments have remained open because they’re essential — hospitals, pharmacies, and grocery stores. And all of them are kept well-stocked because of truckers.
Truck drivers have kept the economy afloat by delivering much needed medical supplies, food, and household goods all over the country. However, truck drivers are also at risk of contracting COVID-19, not to mention the inherent risks they regularly face as a part of their job.
COVID-19 as a Work-Related Illness
Since the world hasn’t faced anything as severe as the coronavirus pandemic before, both employees and employers alike are left with many questions, especially those in essential industries. Primarily, many wonder whether contracting the virus is a valid claim for workers’ compensation.
State laws vary, but in Washington, the Department of Labor and Industries said that “claims from health care providers and first responders involving COVID-19 may be allowed.” For other workers, including truckers, claims will be considered on a case-by-case basis. So, if you happen to get COVID-19 and you suspect it happened while you were on the job, talk to an experienced truck labor attorney to find out how you may claim workers’ compensation.
With that said, prevention is still better than cure. When you’re on the road or docks, make sure you follow these precautionary measures against COVID-19:
Practice strict social distancing
Protect yourself by avoiding unnecessary exposure to other people as much as possible. If you can, stay inside the driver’s cabin while you’re on customers’ sites. Avoid going into the docks, warehouses, or offices. When refueling, pay at the pump. If you need to sign documents, be sure to use your own pen. And most importantly, avoid shaking hands.
Practice good hygiene
Lower the risk of coronavirus infection by staying clean. Practice appropriate hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you get into contact with handles or doorknobs. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers with you all the time, too. Always wear gloves and a face mask and, if you need to cough or sneeze, do so in the crook of your elbow or use a paper tissue and discard it immediately.
Keep your truck and other belongings clean
The virus responsible for COVID-19 can stay on different surfaces for a few hours up to several days, depending on the material. And even if you’re the only person who has access to your cabin, you never know if you might have carried the virus in your hands and other items from outside.
Keep yourself safe by sanitizing your truck regularly. Wipe down frequently-touched surfaces such as the door handle, both inside and out, the steering wheel, levers, radio, and other knobs or buttons. In addition, wipe down your seat with a disposable cloth dipped in disinfectant.
The role of truck drivers is highly valuable during this pandemic. Essential supplies wouldn’t get where they need to without your hard work on the road. By practicing the safety measures above, you reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and you can continue being of service to those who need it.