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The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the important role trucking and transportation play in our daily lives. Right now on highways across Nova Scotia, truck drivers are carrying a broad range of goods, including life-saving medical supplies for workers on the front lines in health care.
They’re also helping the rest of us do our part to flatten the curve, by making sure the grocery stores, food services, and other businesses we rely on for supplies remain well stocked.
Driving a truck is a tough job at the best of times. Long hours alone, spent mostly far from home make trucking more a lifestyle than a job. Doing the job safely is an ongoing challenge for employers and workers. Continued training helps employers and drivers understand how to manage the risks like fatigue, distracted driving, slips and falls, and changing road and weather conditions. With COVID-19, working safely in this sector has become even more challenging.
The public health directives that are helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 for all Nova Scotians include social/physical distancing and sanitation requirements that are having an impact on the way truckers work.
Pick-ups and drop offs have new safety processes, and many of the rest stops truckers rely on are now closed. For those who travel long distance across provincial or national borders, there’s the added concern of being at higher risk for getting the virus. Plus, because of the pandemic there have been changes to regulations such as hours of work, which may result in truckers being more tired.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, it’s vitally important for employers and drivers to support working safely all the time, but especially during the pandemic. The Alliance has developed COVID-19 safe working guidelines that consider the unique needs of the sector. Top safety tips for drivers include:
For the employers and truck drivers currently doing the important work of keeping the supply chain lines open in Nova Scotia and beyond, more information on how to protect your health and safety during the pandemic is available at cantruck.ca. The Nova Scotia Trucking Association (NSTSA) also offers tips and tools on its website, and on Twitter @NS_SafeTrucking.