Those in control of distribution centre premises should think about how they maintain social distancing for visiting drivers while also ensuring that they have access to welfare facilities on-site, advises the Health and Safety Executive.
Loading and unloading goods vehicles can put drivers and other workers at risk, says the organisation, emphasising the importance of considering all risks to the health, safety, and welfare of drivers delivering to and collecting from sites.
It recommends taking “reasonable and practical steps to safeguard drivers and mitigate risk to their health and safety”.
Many duty holders manage the safety of visiting drivers in line with HSE guidance by providing a dedicated waiting area with welfare facilities for drivers.
This helps to reduce the risks of unintended drive-away incidents during loading or unloading and of drivers being struck by forklift trucks or other vehicles if they are walking around the site.
If existing facilities allow drivers to maintain social distancing, there may be no need to make any changes. However, if social distancing cannot be maintained, it may be safer, as a temporary measure, for drivers to remain in their cab during loading or unloading or waiting areas to be relocated, says the HSE.
If changes are made to current arrangements, more consideration will need to be given to how pedestrians and vehicles can continue to circulate in a safe manner, avoiding the risk of drive-away incidents and how drivers can be allowed to safely access welfare facilities if required.
The HSE added: “Visiting drivers must follow the arrangements that the duty holder has put in place and follow the government’s advice on hand-washing.”