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What Long-Haul Truck Driver Employees Need to Know about COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides resources to assist employers and workers identify COVID-19 exposure risks and help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection. See the OSHA Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) topic pageexternal icon for the most current requirements, guidance, and tools.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus (SARS-COV-2).
COVID-19 can sometimes cause serious complications. People at a higher risk for severe illness include:
How COVID-19 Spreads
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about it. Here’s what we currently know:
- The virus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets:
- Between people who are in close contactwith one another (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more).
- Produced when a person who is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- You can get the virus from people who don’t seem sick or don’t have any symptoms.
- You might be able to get COVID-19 by shaking someone’s hand or touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
As a long-haul truck driver, you might be exposed to the virus at your job when
- In close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes or more) with truck stop attendants, store workers, dock workers, other truck drivers, or others with COVID-19.
- Touching or handling frequently touched items and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
How You Can Protect Yourself and Others
Stay home if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow CDC-recommended steps if you are sick.
- Notify your employer if you test positive for COVID-19.
- Do not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about when it’s safe for you to return to work.
- Follow CDC recommended precautions and tell your supervisor if you or someone you live with or someone you have had recent close contact with has COVID-19.
- Make a plan with your employer and your family as to what to do if you become sick while you’re on the road. Include where to stop, where and how to seek medical advice and treatment, and plans for freight delivery.
Stay at least 6 feet away from dock workers, store workers, and others when possible.
- Limit time spent outside of the truck cab during fueling, loading and unloading, and at rest and truck stops.
- Use paperless, electronic invoicing for fueling, deliveries, and other tasks, when available.
- Contact facilities in advance to make an appointment for unloading of cargo. Be aware that some facilities may not grant access to restrooms, and plan as best you can.
- Use radio/phone to talk with dock managers or other drivers, if possible.
- Pack food, water, and supplies to limit the number of stops.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Keep your truck well-ventilated.
- Do not share personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as vests, safety glasses, hard hats), tools, phones, radios, or other personal items.
- Use pre-qualified truck stops or hotels identified by your employer as having appropriate COVID-19 protections.
- If any directive from your employer or a shipper is unclear, ask questions.
Wear a cloth mask in public, and at work, even when social distancing. Cloth masks may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth masks are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing. A universal face covering policy can be effective in preventing the transmission of the virus in close-contact interactions.
- Be careful when putting on and taking off cloth masks:
- Don’t touch your cloth mask while wearing it.
- Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes while taking off the cloth mask.
- Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off the cloth mask.
- Wash the mask after each use.
- Ensure cloth masks do not create a new risk (for example, interferes with driving or vision, or contributes to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus.
- When team driving or ride-alongs are required, wear a cloth mask when sharing the cab with someone who doesn’t live with you and you can’t stay 6 feet apart.
- For those with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues, cloth masks may be difficult to wear, especially for extended periods of time. CDC provides information on adaptations and alternatives that should be considered when cloth masks may not be feasible.
- If you are concerned about the use of cloth masks at your workplace, discuss them with your employer.
- Consider carrying a spare cloth mask.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces.
- Clean the following areas on a routine basis or at least daily:
- In the truck cab (driver door handle, steering wheel, seat belt and buckle, arm and head rest, seat cover, turn signal, wiper controls, dashboard, air ducts, radio, and temperature controls).
- In the sleeper berth (light switches, mattress tray, temperature controls, and other flat surfaces).
- If a third party must have access to the interior of your truck (for example, mechanics, other drivers, inspectors), request that the third party clean and disinfect the truck before turning it back over to you.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes when handling frequently touched items.
- Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You don’t need to wear gloves if you wash your hands regularly (unless they are already required for your job).
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wash your hands at these key times:
- Before entering and leaving the cab, including deliveries, loading and unloading of cargo, rest breaks, fueling, and other activities.
- Before, during, and after preparing food.
- Before eating food.
- After using the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth masks.
- Before and after work and work breaks.
- Before and after fueling.
Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in a lined trash receptacle.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
Continue to comply with current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationexternal icon (FMCSA) regulations.
- Get adequate sleep (7–9 hours) prior to driving. This is critical even when essential supplies and equipment are being transported.
- Pull over, drink a cup of coffee. or take a 15–30 minute nap before continuing if you feel fatigued while driving.
How to Cope with Stress
Mental health and emotional well-being are important parts of worker safety and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in the ways many people work and connect with others, which may raise feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. It is important to pay attention to these in yourself and others and be aware of resources available to manage them.
Information and resources about mental health, knowing signs of stress, taking steps to manage stress, and knowing where to go if you need help are available here.
How Your Employer Can Protect You
Your employer should develop a COVID-19 response plan and share it with you. We created a fact sheet to help your employer.
How To Get More Information
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19
- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic: COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- OSHA COVID-19external icon
- CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) | TTY: 1-888-232-6348 | website: cdc.gov/info