As COVID-19 disrupts daily life, communities are increasingly reliant on delivery drivers, utility operators, and emergency services to sustain them through the evolving uncertainty. Whether you have a fleet of 50 or 1000, taking proactive steps to ensure operator safety, as well as the health of your customers and the public, has never been more critical.
Operator safety management is paramount if the suspension of the hours-of-service (HOS) law applies to your mobile workforce. Businesses may need to adjust operator capacity to fulfill increased demand for food, consumer products, and utilities to support millions of people following work-from-home and shelter-in-place mandates.
Whatever your company’s focus is right now, equipping your workforce with a health and safety strategy and communicating with customers nets the positive impact needed during this time.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm, under which COVID-19 falls. For mobile employees, a company vehicle is their workplace. Companies can provide operators a safety checklist of necessary precautions to help stay healthy and prevent virus spread:
Operators should wipe down frequently touched surfaces such as the steering wheel, gear shifter, radio, armrest, power window buttons, and door handles with a sanitizer and/or disinfectant. If an operator becomes ill, companies should consider quarantining the vehicle, not just the driver. If a vehicle can’t be quarantined, it should be disinfected entirely before the vehicle is used again.
Continuing a preventative maintenance strategy for vehicles, assets, and equipment is even more critical for operators to safely and effectively meet increased demand. Getting ahead of maintenance due dates for oil changes or engine checks as a proactive safety solution during the temporary HOS rules lift decreases the potential of a breakdown or malfunction on the job.
Guiding drivers with safety measures for themselves and vehicles makes operators more likely to drive safely and protect the health of coworkers while providing customers with the assurance what they need is on its way.
As COVID-19 pushes companies to add another layer of operator protection, it’s also critical to keep your customers at the center of safety-focused decision-making. This balance sets the foundation for establishing brand trust now when it is most important.
Prioritizing operator safety and ongoing communication helps preserve company credibility and customer satisfaction. For instance, providing real-time ETA updates and alerts accommodates the prescribed social distancing between operators and customers (about 6 feet) while optimizing business with person-to-person interaction. Customers who receive accurate delivery or service updates are more likely to remain loyal to your company long after Coronavirus is stabilized.
Companies that adopt processes to maximize health and safety are actively doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Committing to protect drivers and customers demonstrates a positive, empathetic solution that is welcome during this vulnerable time. Stay well.