Truckers Against COVID-19: What They Can Do to Prevent Infection While on the Road
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused offices to close. Many American adults find themselves working from the safety of their homes and alongside family members. While the arrangement is not ideal for some people, they are still in better condition than many workers who have to go out and do their job despite the threat of COVID-19.
Truckers do not have the privilege to stay at home. They have to work in order to make sure that the supermarket shelves are well-stocked with essential items and your online orders are delivered to your doorsteps. Truckers have to be on the road all the time if they want to continue earning money for their families and they often have to stay in places where many other truckers from all over the country congregate.
So, what can a trucker do to avoid COVID-19?
Truckers Deserve Paid Sick Leave
Truck drivers are at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic. They continue to work amid the stay-in-place orders in many states and the rising death toll across the country because their role is essential to the economy and to the lives of ordinary citizens.
They are at a greater risk of catching the highly-contagious and deadly disease. Recovery takes time. A patient who is asymptomatic has to undergo a two-week quarantine before they can go back to work safely.
Under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) earlier this year, employees get extended paid sick leave in case they contract the virus. However, this does not apply to all companies. Only those that have more than 50 employees will benefit from FFCRA.
Truckers should talk to their company to see what are the options available to them. If necessary, they should consult a truck labor lawyer to find out what they can do in case they get sick and their employers do not grant them a paid sick leave.
Precautions Against COVID-19 for Truckers
Truckers are expected to follow the same safety protocols necessary in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a guideline for truckers to follow while on the road and it includes social distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing a mask.
Public health experts also recommend that truckers go paperless, opting instead to transact via electronic invoicing for fueling, deliveries, and others. This is not always possible, so using alcohol-based sanitizer frequently and washing their hand with soap whenever there is water will also prevent infection.
Follow Employer-Recommended Truck Stops
Truck stops can become a spreading event because of the number of people from all over the country present in one place at once. At truck stops, truckers rest, eat, and interact with one another. It is not possible to be completely isolated when at a truck stop, so wearing a mask should be the norm. ; It is also recommended that, whenever possible, to eat outdoors.
The risk of infection is far higher indoors where the air is circulated by air conditioning. Without proper ventilation, the virus may be spreading far and wide within an enclosed space.
Outdoors, however, the risk is dramatically reduced because droplets and aerosols in the air that may be contaminated with the virus are immediately dispersed.
It is also important to plan the journey ahead. Only go to truck stops where the employers have ensured that safety guidelines are being followed properly and by everyone.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Having a healthy immune system is a person’s first defense against COVID-19 and other illnesses. Although it cannot prevent infection, it will ensure that the person does not experience severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
It is difficult for truckers to become healthy while on the road, but it is possible. The key is to find opportunities where they can make decisions that benefit their well-being. For example, for dinner, they can choose to eat a greasy burger with a side of fries or they can opt to munch on grilled lean meat and a bowl of salad. Whenever they are at a truck stop, they can choose to exercise (by walking around or using the equipment they brought) instead of lighting a cigarette.
Major lifestyle changes contribute to a healthier body that can fight off any infection.
When Feeling Ill, Stay Home
It is everyone’s responsibility to protect one another from the virus. So, if a person is sick, they should stay home and self-quarantine.
However, they do not have to experience symptoms to isolate themselves at home. If they know that they had been in contact with a person who recently tested positive, they should get a test, too, to see if they caught the virus and may pass it on to family members or fellow truckers.
COVID-19 spares no one. Although some may not develop symptoms, others may experience lasting health consequences of catching the disease. Truckers, like everyone else, should practice precautions to avoid becoming ill.