As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the nation, the need to stay safe and sanitized becomes even greater. In these uncertain times, truckers are tasked with the daily delivery of groceries, medical supplies and other essential products around the country. Truckers have to drive countless hours every day mostly locked up in the truck where they can conveniently keep their social distance. It would be easy to assume they’re low-risk for contracting and spreading illness.
But at every stop, they get exposed and risk picking up the virus—gas stations, home deliveries, and every drop off or pick up. By keeping the supply chain moving, truck drivers are at great risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus, but thankfully this isn’t a helpless situation. There are measures that truckers can take to increase safety while making deliveries cross-country during the pandemic.
As a reminder: the CDC recommends that we regularly wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching our faces, to reduce the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
Recommended Safety and Cleaning Items
If you’re a trucker, then the first step is to keep your truck tidy and germ-free. With a deadly virus destroying lives around the globe, keeping your cabin sanitized has never been more important. As a trucker, here are the essential items for protecting yourself from coronavirus.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that everyone cover their mouth and nose with a face mask when out in public. If you can’t find a face mask, try a homemade mask made from a piece of cloth—ensure no air passes through the cloth when you take a quick and heavy breath out.
At one point or another, you’ll have to leave your truck for short delivery breaks and stops at gas stations. And in such situations, you’re bound to come in contact with different objects and touch different surfaces. Disinfectant wipes that kill bacteria and viruses can help a lot. Use them to wipe down surfaces you touch frequently such as your keys, door hands, etc.
When it comes to the coronavirus, you can never be too cautious. Get yourself a box of disposable vinyl or nitrile gloves for some extra protection. Each glove is to be used once and should be properly disposed of to prevent further spread of the virus.
In the ongoing fight with the coronavirus, if there is one item you can not do without in your safety arsenal, it’s hand sanitizers. Even with disposal gloves, you still need hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) that kills up to 99.9% of germs should be in your cab for those times when your bare hands come in contact with certain surfaces and you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.
How to Give Your Cabin a Quick Clean — Essential Parts to Disinfect
A trucker who is almost always on the road will hardly ever have time for a thorough cleaning of his/her cabin, but perhaps a quick daily clean is more feasible. Just by wiping down the often-touched surfaces with an alcohol-based sanitizer, you will tremendously reduce the number of virus and bacteria on those surfaces and when done right, this will also reduce your chances of picking up the coronavirus or any other virus.
For a quick cab clean, start by wearing a disposable pair of gloves, face masks and an apron for protecting your clothes. Then use alcohol-based disinfectant spray and disposable wipes to carefully wipe down surfaces such as steering wheels, gear stick, keys, seat belt and latch, infotainment/radio, exterior door handles, interior door panels and pulls (both sides), brake, etc. Pay extra attention to the steering wheel because it has small crevices and can house 4 times the amount of germs found on an average toilet seat.
If you have more time on your hands, first use warm soapy water before disinfectants. And if you’re a fairly steady trucker, you may also have to wipe down the sleeper. Take the first few minutes of every shift to do this—a few minutes each day can make a world of difference for your health and happiness.
After cleaning, what’s next?
What happens after cleaning is as important as the cleaning itself. Some experts say the coronavirus can live for more than 24 hours on surfaces, including fabrics, so you need to take extra care in the disposal of the items used for cleaning.
Carefully remove your gloves and face masks and secure them in a waste bag for disposal. If your face mask is made of cloth and reusable, securely store it away with your apron to be cleaned—ensure it cannot contaminate you or anyone else while it awaits a thorough cleaning.
This sounds like a lot of work, and it sure is—but with a deadly virus on the loose that claims lives by the minute, a little daily sacrifice can go a long way.
Do it for those you care about.
As individuals, we all have the responsibility to keep ourselves and our loved one’s safe. One way we can show love to those we care about is to take these extra precautions.
If the desire to neglect important safety measures gets too strong, try thinking of those you care about and the reasons it’s important you’re still here for them.
And, as always, stay safe out there.