You may be forgiven for thinking that this blog post is a little late given that we are nearly two years into the pandemic. Even so, protecting ourselves is just as important now as it was then, especially with the omicron variant and the knowledge that it is far more transmissible than anything that has come before it. Couriers (including same day couriers such as us,) are in regular contact with people all the time, so there is a potential that the virus can be passed on. In this article we’ll take a closer look at this and what can be done to lower the risk.
One thing to bear in mind when thinking about this is not just the traditional risk of transmission from person to person. All viruses (including covid) can live outside the body on surfaces for a varying length of time. It is therefore as much about what we touch (and mitigation of this) as anything else. It has been estimated that covid-19 can survive on some items like plastic for up to 3 days! Even on cardboard substances, it is thought that the virus could still be active 24 hours later. These are some of the mediums that couriers, delivery drivers, postmen / woman are regularly handling, so it would make sense that extra precautions are taken.
How can the risk be lowered to couriers?
Before getting into specific ideas, it is important to mention and remember that this virus is and continues to be a team effort in terms of keeping it under control. It is not only about what couriers can do to lower risk, but also what customers and members of the public can too. When everyone is working together, that collective effort can have a real impact in keeping everyone safe. Ultimately the customer will benefit from this, because the more couriers that keep healthy and avoid coronavirus, the more that are on the road to deliver parcels, thus keeping the hub and network of operation continuing with limited disruption.
1) Hand sanitiser. For couriers or anyone who works on the move (i.e. away from a static facility with a bathroom and wash/hand basin facilities,) hand sanitiser is key because it is the next best thing to soap and water. Couriers should be using it regularly – everytime they get in and out of their vehicle. The key is to find one with as high alcohol content as possible (at least 70%,) because this works the best for killing viruses.
2) Disinfectant wipes. Hand sanitiser is good for hands, but what about everything else? Couriers use a range of technology and equipment – some of this is shared with customers, for example, iPads to sign for receipt of goods. Particular attention needs to be focused to everything that is regularly touched, especially if this is shared with multiple people.
3) Masks. The rules have changed many times on masks over the near 2 years the pandemic has been with us. Mask wearing is a lot of time down to common sense, but as a courier, the purpose is clear. Couriers encounter and meet multiple people each day. Some might argue that this is only momentarily, but we know from science that this is all it can take to catch it and spread. Masks protect others and can protect you too. Meeting multiple people each day puts a courier at greater risk, which can then filter to those contacts they meet. The risk is lowered by using masks.
4) Be sensible. Speaking of common sense, there are many things that couriers can do to lower the risk for themselves and customers. None of these require any special equipment or supplies, just a bit of thought and understanding about the positive impact they may have. Examples include:
* Could you stand back from the customers door after you have rang the bell?
* Could you wait until the crowds ease before dropping off the parcel?
* Could you limit the time you spend speaking to the customer?
5) Know the rules. For those couriers who are working in different nations of the UK, or other European countries, be aware that every country has a slightly different approach to its strategy for coping with covid and the rules visitors have to follow. Being ignorant of this is no defence, so it is worth spending some time to check any requirements before arriving to these different locations.
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