Haulage drivers are essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic swooping across the world. However, there is little talk about how they have been affected. Before the pandemic, the transport and logistics niche was facing a huge challenge trying to maintain their staff. That’s because a lot of them are older and almost retiring. Note that, very few young people are getting into this industry.
The AHPD network has been highlighting the importance of protecting the health and overall wellbeing of their older workforce. Note that drivers, like those from The LGV Training Company, are exposed to various health risks because of their work. COVID-19 has created the perfect storm in the industry. Here are some of the effects of the pandemic on the haulage industry.
1. Industry Impact
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on haulage companies has come in different phases. Those who offer food distribution are quite busy handling online orders. On the other hand, other sectors have dried up almost completely, especially those who were delivering to restaurants, shops and pubs.
Some haulage companies have been able to pay their staff full salary, even those who can’t work. Some have also taken advantage of the furlough scheme offered by the government. Other haulage companies have only offered statutory sick pay forcing most people to work even when they are ill to get enough money to survive.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a few significant changes to the logistics and transport sector that deals with the flow of goods. For instance, there has been relaxation of driver hours allowing them to work for longer hours. Also, the driver training requirements have also been relaxed. These are welcome changes to allow goods to be transported efficiently.
However, they will have implications in the health and overall safety of drivers. Most drivers are going to work even when exhausted. Also, there will be insufficient resting time for many drivers. Haulage companies are thereby forced to keep up a balancing act to keep goods moving as they protect their drivers to meet the new guidelines. However, a few drivers are worried that these companies are taking advantage of the driver hours to allow delivery of non-essential goods.
2. Driver Impact
In the HGV industry, the average age of a drive is 57 and at least 13% of drivers are above 60 years old. As such, with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a huge risk and uncertainty to these drivers. Professional drivers are recognized as older and less healthy due to the health risks associated with their job. For instance, they are likely to suffer from obesity because of their unhealthy diet, exposure to stress, lack of exercise and poor sleeping patterns.
With the known risks of COVID-19 to the older individuals and those with underlying health issues, there is a lot of concern on the health of drivers in the haulage industry during this time. There are many reports where drivers have been denied access to toilets or handwashing facilities at different premises because of the COVID-19 worries. Note that, these drivers are required to access these facilities to reduce contraction of the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. The haulage industry is full of at-risk individuals who might put their own families at risk. As the world is adjusting, the industry needs to adjust too. The companies need to put the necessary measures in place to make sure that their drivers are protected throughout the pandemic.