COVID-19 Rules for Safer Practice for International Hauliers
The Government has issued updated rules for international hauliers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance covers issues such as:
• what to do if a driver or crew displays COVID symptoms
• isolation in the driver cab
• sleep and rest arrangements
Under the rules, the driver and crew must self-isolate in the cab during the duration of their time in England. They are asked to limit exposure to others at loading and unloading, and to maintain distance from the rest of the public at service stations and accommodation stops. Drivers are asked to bring food where possible to avoid unnecessary stops and exposure.
Drivers can leave the cab for essential purposes, including:
• taking a COVID-19 test
• seeking medical and emergency assistance
• using wash facilities including communal showers
• making vehicle and load checks
• obtaining food
If the cab has appropriate sleeping facilities, drivers must take overnight sleep breaks in the cab. If the cab does not have sleeping facilities, drivers can stay in a hotel or B&B.
Where possible, drivers should bring food or obtain food from service areas and other sources that require minimal mixing, rather than sources typically used by members of the public — for example supermarkets. Drivers should return to the cab to eat and drink and wash hands before entering and after leaving public spaces.
Employers have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety, including from the risks of infection with coronavirus (COVID-19).
To reduce the potential spread of new variant COVID-19, and to ensure the safety of drivers and the public, the Government’s guidance sets out the measures to be followed by those transporting accompanied freight into and from continental Europe.
What to do if a driver or crew displays COVID symptoms
No driver or crew should be travelling or working if displaying any coronavirus symptoms. Coronavirus symptoms are:
• a high temperature
• a new, continuous cough
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free test.
Non-UK residents must undertake a weekly 45-hour rest break at a COVID-19 secure accommodation.
UK residents can undertake this weekly rest break at home.
UK residents can isolate at home while not working but are still subject to COVID-19 testing requirements. While working, drivers are covered by the requirement to self-isolate in the cab for a period of 10 days after returning to the UK.
Drivers face a £1000 fine if found to be in breach of these requirements.
Precautions which must be followed include:
• only leaving the cab for essential purposes, including for eating and using washing facilities.
• wear a face covering indoors, unless exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
• use hand sanitiser when entering or exiting the cab.
• always keep at least 2 metres away from other members of the public unless a clear screen or other protective barrier is in place.
Drivers may leave the cab at delivery sites if required to comply with health and safety rules.
Entering and exiting the vehicle
Only drivers, crew, and others carrying out essential tasks should be permitted in the cab during the journey.
This includes enforcement and health officials such as police, DVSA, Border Force and other government representatives. Enforcement officials entering the cab will take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including use of appropriate PPE and asking the driver and crew to vacate the cab prior to them entering it.
Additionally, if the vehicle malfunctions, breakdown operators may enter the cab if absolutely necessary. Appropriate precautions should be taken.
Loading and unloading
The driver and crew must remain in the cab during loading and unloading, wherever possible. If a driver leaves the cab to assist with loading or unloading, a mask should be worn, and all other workers should move at least 2 metres away from the loading area.
Limiting the length of stay
For drivers and crew crossing the border from non-UK originating points to unload and/or load in the UK and then return to a non-UK destination, employers should limit the length of stay to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.
Dual-manned cabs are permitted. However, both drivers should follow this guidance at all times.
Children and other passengers
The Government encourages only those necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle and load to travel to England. Children and other passengers are required to undertake testing and isolation requirements. If a driver arrives from a red list country, children and other passengers will be expected to follow this guidance.
The police may have the power to take enforcement action for breaches of COVID rules, with haulier compliance also being monitored by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in the guidance provides exemption from, or varies, the existing requirements in legislation as to drivers’ hours or the use of tachographs.
The full guidance can be found on the Government website.