Social distancing, and sharing space in a 2.6m truck cab

MISSISSAUGA,
Ont. — Public health officials want people to keep two meters away from one another
to fight the spread of Covid-19. That’s pretty difficult to do in a truck cab restricted
to a maximum width of 2.6 meters overall.

Ontario’s Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) – in a partnership with Concrete Ontario, the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO), and other stakeholders — has responded with guidelines for in-vehicle driver safety in the midst of Covid-19.

IHSA has produced a video on cleaning procedures for cabs, to help in the fight against Covid-19. (Video capture: IHSA)

“The release of IHSA’s training guidelines is intended to support those training centres that have been allowed to open,” says Enzo Garritano, the association’s president and CEO. “IHSA has worked diligently to ensure procedures are in place at our own facilities to keep instructors and participants safe. These guidelines are a starting point for training organizations to establish best practices moving forward.”

“Because employees will be required to be within two metres of one another while in the vehicle, it is critical that all employees complete a health screening at both the start and end of their shift,” the guidelines say, referring to needs that emerge during in-vehicle assessments and mentorships. Such screening is also to include temperature checks where possible.

“If either
employee or trainee fails to complete all stages of the screening protocol,
then the in-vehicle session should be rescheduled to a later date.”

The IHSA – part
of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system, serving sectors under the
province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board — has begun to reopen facilities
and is gradually resuming its own training, with limits of one four-person class
per facility.

Recognizing
that virtual training can’t be used for all of a truck driver’s training, IHSA
does note that options for some of the work can include virtual classrooms
using tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype and WebEx.

 “Many of these interactive systems also offer
knowledge verification (testing) features, to ensure that key training
objectives are understood,” it adds.

CB radios,
hands-free cell phones, and in-vehicle tablets can also make it possible for
trainers and mentors to communicate with drivers from outside the vehicle, the
IHSA says.

“For fully
licensed drivers, an instructor/mentor can follow in a separate vehicle at a
safe distance and provide feedback/coaching after the trip is completed.”

When remote
and virtual training isn’t possible, the IHSA recommends laying out training
rooms to accommodate physical distancing, and offering workers masks and eye
protection when physical distancing isn’t possible. It also calls for training room
surfaces to be disinfected before and after any training session, encouraging
drivers to bring their own pens and pencils, and adopting digital documents in
the place of paper handouts.

“Begin and
end each shift by cleaning the inside of your vehicle with a disinfectant.
Clean and disinfect the steering wheel, frequently used levers, buttons and
radio controls, seats, and anything generally touched with your hands,” the
IHSA advises. It’s also developed an instructional video to show how to best
clean and sanitize commercial vehicles.

“When
cleaning the vehicle, ensure adequate ventilation by keeping the doors open,
and when possible allow time for the vehicle to air out before driving (10
minutes),” the IHSA says.

In addition
to equipping vehicles with hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray, and containers
to dispose of used PPE and cleaning supplies, the association also recommends
driving the shared truck cabs with open windows. Each window should also be
open by the same amount to equalize the pressure inside.

General precautions call on drivers to monitor their health and stay home even if they face mild symptoms such as a cough, fever or sore throat; keeping at least two meters away from others during interactions; disinfecting common or shared touch surfaces; and washing hands for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • This article has been updated to include comments from Enzo Garritano.

Published at Mon, 15 Jun 2020 17:36:06 +0000


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