It has been a challenging time for us all during the Pandemic.

From March we suddenly had to work in very different ways and we have all done our very best to ‘stay safe’ to protect ourselves and our businesses. This has included working from home, mothballing vehicles, furloughing drivers and staff, whilst also ensuring the security of premises and vehicles.

It’s now time to start planning for the return to work, to what won’t quite be ‘business as usual’, the question is – how do we do this safely?

Vehicle maintenance

Mothballed vehicles parked up for weeks on end will not be ready for instant use when needed and will need to be extensively inspected for efficiency and safety. Thorough preparation will save costly breakdowns and ensure your vehicles are roadworthy for your drivers and the public’s safety.

If you are short running mothballed vehicles to shorten the standing time, here are some things to remember:

  • Run the air conditioning to prevent a build-up of mould or bacteria and run the oil around this system
  • Check tyre pressure, moving the vehicle even short distances prevents tyre flattening
  • Check under the bonnet for rodent damage
  • Check lubricants

Maintain with PMI’s, even if you use mobile maintenance engineers, then there will be no delay in commissioning the vehicles.

Bringing a mothballed vehicle back into service is a challenge to be managed. Now is the time to plan this into your maintenance scheduling, book in your due Annual Tests and MOT’s and ensure drivers are doing daily checks thoroughly when the vehicle is going back on the road.

Return to work – driver safety

We can all get a little rusty, even when we are doing a task every day. Your drivers may not have driven your commercial vehicles for up to 10 weeks, how ‘Fit to Drive’ will they be on their return to work?

Being ‘Fit to Drive’ is not just about health. It is about attitude, behaviour and performance of drivers. Drivers should receive a return to work induction training from you before getting back into your vehicles. Here are some of the reasons why…

Driver speeding

Many of us have noticed that whilst there has been less traffic on our road’s drivers have been speeding along. Being speed aware is part of driver behaviour. Where the roads have been quieter many drivers have decided it is OK to speed – fewer vehicles, fewer hazards.

Drivers should always adhere to driving within speed limits; they should not be a target to drive to.

Additional VRUs using the roads

Due to the pandemic, there have been changes in the style and number of VRUs using the roads to meet social distancing requirements; not using public transport when possible and keeping healthy. We all need to remember there are likely to be more:

  • Cyclists on the roads
  • Pedestrians who will be stepping off pavements onto the roads

All drivers need to be aware of these VRU hazards and give all road users safe space, whether this is in towns, cities or on country roads.

Vehicle familiarisation

Drivers may not have been driving your vehicles for many weeks, this means they will be ‘out of touch’ with driving them. Drivers will need to adjust their driving habits to reflect the size of your commercial vehicle and visibility issues which both differ from the family cars they may have been driving whilst furloughed.

Return to work induction training made easy

We appreciate drivers may have been driving your vehicles for years, but they may never have experienced such a long break from driving HGVs during their whole driving career.

For this and many other reasons, our roads are likely to be even greater danger zones as drivers get used to driving on busy roads again and a return to work induction training plan is essential.

We have recommended that our Clients select a few modules from their Road Skills Online Professional Development Plan to use for their return to work induction, helping them to remind drivers how they want them to drive your vehicles.

If you are not a Road Skills Online subscriber, why not take this opportunity to click below to trial the programme to see how the Toolbox Talks can help with your return to work induction and thereafter.

Going back to work is a great time to introduce new training initiatives and the Road Skills Online Toolbox training will help you introduce a 21st-century training plan to your team, reminding drivers of their risks and how to manage them out on the road.

Remember social distancing will still be in place, this means online training is the safest way to deliver your training for both you and your drivers.

Sources | Driving for Better Business | Fleetworld

Published | June 2020