Part 3 CORONAVIRUS AND TRUCKERS: HOW I MANAGE MY DAY TO MINIMIZE RISK

fullsizeoutput_17

We’ve already discussed basic information about COVID–19 and some ways you can avoid contamination as well as products that can help minimize your risk.  Now we’re going to go a bit deeper into the processes that I use every day to keep myself as safe as possible.

As I mentioned before, I spent years studying bacterial and viral infections while serving in the military and in emergency response.  During that time, I specialized in decontamination of both military and civilian personnel*.  Because of this experience, I’m a germaphobe.  Accordingly, I take a lot of steps to avoid contamination. 

Here is a demonstration of how I approach a driving shift.

HOW TO BEGIN YOUR SHIFT AS A DRIVER

  • Protect your hands with nitrile gloves.
  • Use a disinfectant wipe to clean your door handle.
  • Open the door and use a disinfectant spray on your seat and floor.
  • Climb into the truck and use wipes to clean the steering wheel, shifter, dash, radio and AC controls, and anything else that you will touch throughout your shift.  Don’t forget the seat belt. 
  • Put all wipes into a trash bag then remove your gloves and place into trash (I typically use a plastic grocery bag).
    • How to remove gloves
      • Take your left hand and pinch the right hand glove on the back of your hand just below your wrist.
      • Pull the right hand glove completely off without touching your skin.
      • Hold the removed glove inside of your left hand fist.
      • Use one finger and thumb to pinch the left hand glove.
      • Pull the left hand glove off so that the first glove stays inside of the left hand glove.
      • Place gloves (they should now look like one glove with the uncontaminated surface on the outside) into your trash bag.
      • Apply hand sanitizer and allow it to dry.
    • This process takes some practice but it is an effective way to remove gloves without contaminating your skin.
  • Now that the surfaces inside of your cab and your hands are clean, continue your shift as normal.  Just remember to wear work gloves (nitrile gloves underneath if you prefer) to complete your pre–trip inspection.

HOW TO HANDLE FUEL STOPS

  • Before climbing out of your truck, put on nitrile gloves.
  • Use gloved hand to operate the fuel pump keypad and fuel pump handle.
  • Do whatever you need around your truck (ie cleaning windshield) without removing your gloves. 
  • Remove gloves and place in the trash can.
  • Apply hand sanitizer.

HOW TO HANDLE RESTROOM STOPS

  • Put on your gloves.  (If you fueled already, use a new glove.  (I typically only use one glove for this step.)
  • Use your gloved hand to open doors or to touch any surface.
  • Remove gloves in restroom.
  • Do “your business.”  Urinals aren’t bad.  Using the toilet is a nightmare.  I recommend using the principles of gloves, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes liberally in this situation!
  • Wash hands (We’ll detail this process later).
  • Use a glove to get yourself out of the restroom unless you can exit without touching anything with your hands.
  • Apply hand sanitizer.

HOW TO WASH HANDS

There is no perfect way to do this.  Every scenario is different and you may have to touch faucet knobs, paper towel dispenser, etc. when you are finished.  Do your best to follow these steps to minimize contamination.  Be liberal with hand sanitizer when you are finished.

  • Turn on the faucet.  Use hot water (as hot as you can stand).
  • Apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously making sure to get the following areas:
    • Between fingers
    • Fingertips
    • Backs and fronts of hands
    • Thumbs
    • Wrists
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds.  Use a familiar song or count to reach twenty.
  • Rinse
  • Use a paper towel to turn off faucet.
  • Use a paper towel to open restroom door.
  • Apply hand sanitizer

HOW TO HANDLE PURCHASES

As with restroom stops, there is no “perfect” when it comes to making in store purchases.  I’m going to detail my exact daily purchase.  Apply these principles to your purchasing situation.

  • Apply dominant hand glove.
  • Use the gloved hand to open cooler.
  • Remove product (Mango energy drink for me) with ungloved hand.
  • Approach counter making sure to keep distance between you and other customers.
  • Use gloved hand to touch any surfaces – keypads, etc.
  • Best case scenario – keep your product in your hand and let them scan without touching anything that will go back into your truck.
  • Use your gloved hand to exit the store.
  • Remove glove and throw in trash.
  • Apply hand sanitizer.

THROUGHOUT THE WORK DAY

Keep in mind that it’s OK to apply these practices throughout your work day.  Most of the supplies needed are cheap and should be used liberally. 

Apply hand sanitizer anytime you’ve been out of the truck, before eating or putting anything into your mouth, or anytime you touch something that has been on the floor.

It’s OK to wear gloves more than when I’ve recommended.  Remember, they’re cheap.  Use them anytime you think you might touch anything contaminated.

If you’re waiting for a shipper or taking your 30–minute break, take the time to wipe down your truck again and to use disinfectant spray on your seats and floor.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Use whichever of these practices work and fit your daily life.  Erring on the side of caution is absolutely OK.  It’s far better to be extra careful than to get sick because you didn’t take the time to protect yourself.  As I read fairly recently, if you feel like you’re doing way more than you need to, you’re probably just about where you need to be.

These are the practices that I apply daily and they aren’t much of an inconvenience.  And for that matter, even before the Coronavirus outbreak, trucking tends to be a dirty job.  It wouldn’t hurt any of us to be a bit more sanitary when we’re out on the road.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know via Facebook or Instagram!

*Please note that I am not a doctor, professional health care provider, or public official.  All statements are my own opinion and are not to be confused with professional medical advice. 

Subscribe to the Convoy Blog

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Responses