Motoring News

Covid and auto trade: Business tips from MasterDrive

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020 and that required change for individuals and businesses. Operating procedures needed adjustment to to protect employees and clients, great uncertainty developed, and it became clear many protocols would be here to stay.

MasterDrive’s CEO Eugene Herbert believes early Covid-19 protocols were prioritised to the exclusion of other HSE policies, particularly those amongst fleets. “Now, two years into the pandemic, it is clear that such protocols will be in place far into the future – perhaps permanently.”

However, previous HSE requirements should not be neglected.

“That could cause deaths and economic strain equal to damage caused by the virus. Current HSE policies should include Covid-19 protocols and ways to meet HSE requirements while keeping drivers safe on the roads.

“Failing to include either requirement could expose employees and employers to risk the well-being of drivers and the financial standing of your business. Rather than sacrifice training objectives, guidelines should be laid down for choosing a training provider that meets your internal Covid-19 protocols.

“That way neither would have to ignore the reality of the virus or putting drivers on the road without adequate training and development.”

Some HSE policy examples:

• Explain when and how a vehicle should be sanitised

• Decide how training could be given at low risk

• Have alternatives should the workforce become infected by Covid-19 and be put under under extra pressure with a skeleton staff

• Procedures should a driver be exposed

• A not-negotiable policy for masks, social distancing, and sanitisation when involved with clients

• Measures to meet training requirements amid times of high risk or increased transmission

• Policies to reduce risk when refuelling or during routine maintenance

• Customer interaction guidelines

• Policies for personal use of company vehicles

Hebert concluded: “Do not let any requirements in your HSE policies fall by the wayside – have a clear Covid-defined strategy and HSE policy to cover all eventualities.”

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