COVID-19: Interim Recommendations for Transborder Transportation
COVID-19 preventive measures in the workplace
These measures apply when sustained community transmission has been confirmed by public health authorities
Characteristics of truck driving:
Currently, all travellers returning from outside of Canada are required to undergo a 14-day voluntary isolation to limit the propagation of the coronavirus. In this context, the status of transborder employees, such as drivers of heavy vehicles (truck drivers), presents a particular situation. Presently, as mentioned by the Premier in a press conference, volunteer isolation measures for travelers returning from outside of Canada do not apply to truck drivers. This exemption is to ensure continued supply of medications, medical goods, fresh produce and essential goods. However, truck drivers, like tourists, are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus. Therefore, rigorous preventative measures apply to truck drivers to protect them and to limit the propagation of the virus within the population.
In order to protect the health of their employees and of those who come into contact with the workplace, employers are asked to:
- Limit, when possible, the number of transport employees exposed by targeting the authorised transborder transport sectors and essential services based on the established government list.
- Conduct a triage of employees before they take their truck to identify those with symptoms or those who have been in contact with an infected person.
- Apply strict measures of social distancing of at least 2 metres between drivers and workers of establishments where loading and unloading takes place. If the 2-metre restriction cannot be respected, contact must be limited to a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.
- Trailer loading and unloading should ideally be performed by workers of the supplier and client establishments and not by the truck driver.
- A hygiene protocol must be implemented: hand washing after handling of goods, regular cleaning of the truck interior (vehicle cabin and trailer), regular disinfection of forklift handles and other surfaces that are touched.
- While the handling of inanimate objects is not the main mode of transmission of the virus, it is important to have a safety protocol in place for handling transaction documents: washing hands after handing documents, not touching the face, storing documents in a designated container or sealed plastic bag that can be cleaned regularly.
- Limit the number of drivers that access the truck cabin and encourage stable/regular teams of drivers (avoid changes in the teams or rotation of drivers) to avoid multiplying interactions between workers. As much as possible, respect the 2-metre social distancing between employees.
When it is not possible to respect the 2-metre distance between drivers in the cabin, ensure that the following measures are implemented:
- Any employee with cough, fever or difficulty breathing is to be excluded from the workplace;
- Avoid the sharing of material and equipment (tablets, pens, communication devices, mobile telephones, etc.);
- Clean regularly during each work shift the dash board, steering wheel and stick shift with sanitized wipes or a disinfecting alcohol solution, especially when there is a rotation or change in the driver using the truck.
- Reinforce the frequent cleaning of the truck cabin and trailer interior with the usual cleaning products on each work shift.
- Provide drivers with hand sanitizer or soapy hand wipes so that they can clean their hands when they do not have access to soap and water.
- Establish an isolation protocol in the event that employees develop symptoms during their work shift, until they can return home to self-isolate; recommend that they call 1-877-644-4545 (if in Québec) or their local authorities at the onset of symptoms. Visit the Minister of Health and Social Services (MSSS) website on Procedures to Follow on Return Home from Abroad: https://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-002494/
- Establish the monitoring of symptoms for employees returning from a trip. Please visit the MSSS website: https://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-002494/
- Recommend to drivers returning from delivery abroad to say home, to avoid going out, as much as possible, during rest stops between each trip, and to apply the recommendations of public health authorities (limit contact with family members, ensure rigorous hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, like coughing and sneezing into the crook of the elbow or into a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the garbage and washing hands as soon as possible). Please visit the MSSS website: https://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-002494/
- Ask transport companies to provide isolated hotel rooms for employees who are on the road for several days.
- Give strict instructions to drivers to avoid crowded public places (avoid gatherings), avoid restaurants and diners, and to try to have food delivered whenever possible
The above recommendations are based on the information available at the time of their drafting. Given that the situation and knowledge on the SARS-CoV-2 virus (covid-19) are evolving rapidly, these recommendations are subject to change.