With lockdown measures lifting and many businesses welcoming colleagues back into places of work (in a socially distanced way of course), the likes of Transport for London have been quick to push out guidance for those who cannot work from home, to ensure their safety when travelling to and from work.
From hand sanitizer and 2m distancing on public transport services, to new walking and cycling routes, to reduced services and passenger levels, TfL has been quick to provide guidance on the best way to navigate the return to work – how well it’s followed is yet to be seen.
This raises the question for transport operators who have already been running a reduced operation, or those looking to bring more colleagues back, what is the safest way of getting back to normal operating levels where there might be a requirement for more than one colleague in the cab, or a requirement to visit personal or private premises with goods?
Personal protective equipment and disinfecting vehicles
PPE, or lack thereof, has been one of the constants of this pandemic period, but with pressure beginning to ease on the NHS there’s now more PPE for businesses to get their hands on. It’s imperative you make every attempt to source it where there is requirement for two or more colleagues to be near each other. Best guidance is that colleagues should have masks over their nose and mouth and have windows down if travelling together in a vehicle, and then gloves, show covers, and face masks if entering premises, with all PPE carefully disposed of and replaced after each visit.
Learnings can also be taken from the airline industry when it comes to disinfecting pool vehicles that may be shared with other colleagues. There are now hard-working disinfectants being used by airlines that can be easily sprayed on any surface and will clean, disinfect, and protect for up to 10 days, giving bacteria such as COVID-19 no chance of attaching. A number of these products have already gone through FDA approval in the US and are making their way over here, so operators should investigate the available options and introduce vehicle spraying if and when they get UK approval.
There’s been some fantastic examples in the press of brands in the B2C getting their deliveries set-up perfectly. The likes of furniture retailer HSL, whose older customer base are amongst those considered the most vulnerable during this pandemic, is one of the first businesses to create and send out a Contactless Delivery pack to customers that includes markers for them to place in the room the furniture is intended for, and in the exact position the furniture should be placed. Delivery teams – equipped in full PPE – will call customers twice during their visit, once before they arrive so entry doors can be opened and customers can vacate to a separate room, and again when they’ve left the house to ensure the furniture is placed in the right room and place.
Not only is this a great example of how businesses are putting the safety of their customers first, it also shows that great attention is equally being paid to colleagues required to go into multiple premises. A similar process can easily be adopted in the B2B space as the sentiment is the same – how can you reduce contact at all stages of the product journey, from pick-up to drop-off?
There is now the ability to install segregation screens in vehicles where there is a requirement for two colleagues to share a cab, meaning they don’t need to sit in full PPE on every journey. Businesses like GEM3D have created a system for capturing highly accurate 3D vehicle scans data that enables the design and manufacture of high-quality screens, which facilitate safe vehicle sharing.
Their process involves capturing highly accurate vehicle data using the latest metrology grade equipment, before creating a fully productionised 3D CAD Model that is then cut using highly accurate CNC machines to ensure a perfect fit every time. With a simple mounting system that incorporates rubber seals, the screens are an easy-to-fit product, that is made to measure without the need to drill holes or modify the vehicle in any way, and which keep colleagues much safer than relying on them to wear PPE when out of sight.