New protocols in place to support truck drivers

NEW protocols outlining vital health and safety measures to keep truck stops and roadhouses open have been announced by the National Cabinet. The protocols include properly cleaning and sanitising showers and toilets, spacing out seating, minimising interactions between staff and drivers and removing self-serve options. Australian Trucking Association chief executive officer Ben Maguire said a truck driver's workplace was on the roads and highways so it was vital they had proper facilities.

"These new guidelines will help businesses play their important role in supporting drivers, and ensuring their health and safety," he said. Mr Maguire thanked the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications for their work in supporting truck drivers during these challenging times. Yesterday the ATA and Big Rigs national road transport newspaper launched the Keep them Open campaign, aimed at gathering feedback from truck drivers about what they are experiencing on the road and pressing businesses to keep facilities open.

"We want to showcase the truck stops and roadhouses that are doing the right thing - and the ones that aren't," Mr Maguire said. "With the feedback we receive, we will also keep governments and the rest of the industry informed," he said. THE NEW PROTOCOLS

Businesses operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations:

  • These facilities will be authorised to continue providing services to heavy vehicle drivers in need of food, showers, rest rooms and a place to break from driving to manage their fatigue under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
  • This exemption is subject to the service station, service centre, road house or similar facility implementing the protocol below to provide appropriate social distancing and hygiene arrangements for these facilities.

Drivers must observe the following:

  • Washing or sanitising hands at all appropriate times, but especially before sitting and prior to leaving.
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing while in the truck driver lounge.
  • Truck drivers must not remain in the truck driver lounge/facilities for more than one hour and this includes showering and using the toilet facilities.
  • If using the shower facilities, advise a truck driver lounge employee after showering to allow time for cleaning.
  • Follow all COVID-19 related instructions from employees in the truck driver lounge.
  • If displaying symptoms of illness such as a fever, cough or sore throat do not enter the truck driver lounge and instead seek medical assistance.

Businesses must observe the following:

  • Provide appropriate signage that clearly states:

--The truck driver lounge is only open to truck drivers; --Social distancing and appropriate hygiene requirements must be followed.

  • Provide guidance to all employees working in the truck driver lounge based on the Department of Health website.
  • Ensure cleaning and sanitising of all surfaces, doors and high traffic areas, particularly those in areas open to the heavy vehicle drivers, in accordance with advice provided on the Department of Health website.
  • Ensure soap or handwash is readily available in toilets and showers. After each use of a shower facility, clean and sanitise thoroughly.

    Ensure showers that have been cleaned are marked as ready to be used.

  • Provide additional hand sanitising stations for both employees and heavy vehicle drivers to encourage use.
  • Put in place procedures to closely monitor the health of all employees, with at least daily reporting or check-ins by supervisors.
  • Tables, seating and truck driver numbers should be managed to provide appropriate social distancing according to the latest advice on the Department of Health website.
  • Employees should minimise their interaction with the truck drivers in the truck driver lounge to those that are essential to provide them with the services.
  • Remove all self-serve options unless pre-packaged.
  • Continue to meet all other work, health and safety and other regulatory requirements.

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