The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a massive impact on trucker’s daily routines. Physicians everywhere are warning people that a key battle against COVID-19 is won by washing your hands, not touching your face, and sanitizing surfaces you’re in contact with. Since over the road truckers spend most of their time in a truck cab, it is essential they keep themselves safe. In this article, we will illustrate how truck drivers can keep their cabs clean during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first step to keeping yourself safe is to get into the habit of washing or sanitizing your hands on a regular basis. The goal is to turn this into a normal routine/habit so you reduce your risk without a second thought. Additionally, refraining from touching your eyes and mouth (even if with clean hands) will help you avoid infection. While there is no guarantee of prevention, it limits your risk.
How COVID-19 is Spread
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is mainly spread person-to-person via respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, and talking. This means the virus can be caught while being in close contact with other people. Because of this, the CDC recommends distancing yourself 6 feet away from people in public and avoiding going out in general.
It is also possible to catch COVID-19 via particles remaining on surfaces or objects that then come in contact with your nose, mouth, or eyes. This is why it is recommended to avoid face touching and to wash your hands often. While the CDC says catching the virus from a contaminated surface is possible, the main transmission of the virus is done by person-to-person infection.
COVID-19 On Surfaces
There is evidence that the viral particles do remain on certain surfaces for up to 3 days.. According to some sources and medical professionals, the virus can survive on porous surfaces like cardboard for as long as 24 hours. Plastic, steel, and glass have numbers in the 48-72 hour range.
The facts are unconfirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and there is also no way to be sure that surfaces have come in contact with the virus. The safest bet would be to act as if anything you touch could possibly be infected. This means you should wash your hands and wipe down cab surfaces anytime a new object has been introduced into your environment. Make sure to pay extra attention to things like your doorknob, phone screen, ATM keypads, or even your ELD screen.
What To Clean With
The CDC has made a list of products that can kill COVID-19. Be sure to pick up some spray disinfectant, soap, and hand sanitizer if you can. When it comes to surfaces, bleach or alcohol substance will work best for wiping them down. If that is not available to you, you can use hot soapy water too.
It doesn’t hurt to be overly cautious. You may feel like you are being paranoid but truckers are the lifeblood of keeping the country stocked and come into contact with a lot of products.
How to Clean Your Cab
When you get into your truck, make sure you wipe down any and down all the surfaces you might touch with either spray disinfectant or soapy water. This means you want to give yourself extra time in your schedule to get this done. The extra 5-10 minutes is worth the effort.
Areas you will want to focus on would be your door handles, steering wheel, your gear shift, any and all switches in your cab, and your glass windows. If you have a sleeper, you will also want to wipe down the surfaces there. Take extra care in cleaning if there are multiple people accessing the vehicle.
Additionally, any cloth material like clothes, sheets, and bedding should be washed regularly. Bedding and linens should be laundered as often as you can manage. Make sure you wash your laundry bag along with your clothes as it comes in contact with dirty surfaces. Use hot water instead of cold while washing.
The CDC also is advising against shaking any dirty linens or laundry as it may be possible to disperse the virus through the air this way. Furthermore, take extra care to throw way any plastics or garbage bags used to hold dirty clothes.
Keep your cab clean by throwing away any food containers, specifically paper fast food bags, as soon as you can. This could mean storing them in a separate plastic garbage bag away from you until you can reach a dumpster.
Make sure you wipe down the surfaces of your phone, tablet, keyboard, or any electronic item you are in contact with often. To prevent damage, follow the manufactures instructions for cleaning.
If you cannot find any information on the proper cleaning procedure, wipe the object down thoroughly with a disinfectant containing at least 70% alcohol. Avoid putting liquid directly onto your devices at risk of damage. This means you probably don’t want to dunk your iPhone into a bowl of soapy water to disinfect it.
Lastly, wash your hands thoroughly after you’re finished with everything.
For Mechanics and Technicians
The CDC is unsure how long COVID-19 particles stay airborne. Despite that, there is reason to believe someone else’s stuffy truck cab could possibly be a dangerous place to be. Since the main transmission of the virus is through respiratory particles, it is important that techs and mechanics keep themselves safe. Leaving doors and windows open while servicing a truck is a good idea to limit your risk.
To be safe, techs and mechanics should follow the same cleaning protocol advised in the beginning of this article. This means regular hand washing, not touching your face, wiping down surfaces you will be touching, and wearing protective gear if possible/available. They also should make sure to wash their hands after the job is complete.
The place where you are going to be at the most risk is in public spaces. You should assume all surfaces could possibly be contaminated with COVID-19. Limit contact with objects whenever possible and wash your hands once you are done.
The best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to keep your distance from others. Be sure to maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others around you.
While these suggestions may seem overly cautious, it is in the interest of your health and the overall public’s health to take this very seriously. As long as you take the necessary precautions by washing your hands, not touching your face, and maintaining a safe distance from others, you’re putting in a great effort to keep yourself healthy.
Additionally, keep others safe by coughing or sneezing into your arm/covering your mouth. If you feel sick with a fever or cough, avoid contact with the public or wear a mask if possible.
If we all do our part in practicing safe techniques, we can help limit a massive jump in new COVID-19 cases and save lives. Wash your hands, social distance, and stay safe out there.