Being a haulage driver can be challenging at the best of times and even more so during a pandemic. However, a lot of people don’t think about haulage workers when it comes to keeping them safe and making sure everything is taken care of with regards to protection. According to the AHPD (Age, Health and Professional Drivers’ Network), there is a clear lack of focus on this and it leads to unsafe conditions for drivers.
Even when the pandemic wasn’t causing issues in society, there was still lingering concern about transportation and how the logistics sector was handling staffing. A lot of people that were working as haulage drivers were approaching retirement and were on the way out without good replacements.
In recent years, the AHPD Network has tried to make clear how important it is to keep these drivers safe. An ageing workforce needs to be protected due to the health risks involved in being a haulage driver.
With COVID-19 taking a toll on the industry, it has also given a new opportunity to take a look at how to keep haulage drivers safe. This is essential when it comes to responding to the industry and making sure things are done the right way.
Impact on the Industry
Companies that are working in this industry are being impacted in unique ways. Companies that are dealing with food are having to work extra hours to make sure everything is being processed properly. Meanwhile, other companies are struggling to make ends meet, especially those dealing with shops, restaurants, and/or pubs.
It is important for these companies to pay those who are working for them using the furlough scheme, but others aren’t getting the opportunity to help enough. This is restricting them when it comes to finances.
A lot of changes have been made with regard to how the sector is handling the flow of goods. This means the hours are being extended, while the training requirements are being brought down. These are good changes for drivers that are looking to keep things moving along but may further increase the threat to a driver’s life when it comes to health issues. It is important for drivers to have rest periods during these hours.
A lot of companies are trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t while being able to keep the flow of goods going. New guidelines are being set up, but drivers are still worried about how relaxed the conditions have become with driver hours.
Impact on Haulage Drivers
The risk continues to rise and there is a concern about how haulage drivers are being taken care of especially since the average age of a driver is 57. Along with this, over 13 % of all drivers are over the age of 60. This means they are further compromised in this situation despite having to work regularly.
Some of the issues that tend to impact drives would include excessive stress, lack of exercise, bad dietary choices, and sleep deprivation. These risks are elevated when it comes to COVID-19 on older haulage drivers because of their working conditions. As a result, it has become essential to focus on these details when it comes to driving.
A lot of drivers have been restricted when it comes to using handwashing facilities or even going to a nearby washroom along their route. This has to do with the pandemic and how it is shutting everything down. Since drivers don’t have anywhere else to go, it is creating a serious health risk. Even the facilities that are available aren’t properly protected to keep haulage drivers safe. The HGV Driver Training Centre has further information on this.