The striking thing about the situation we all find ourselves in is the resilience of the supply chain and those working in it. There is no doubt that all within our sector will work to aid and support each other in returning to some sort of normal trading conditions at some point in the future. But we will need help, especially from Government in a meaningful and sustainable manner to allow viable businesses survive and thrive.
For business, time is the most critical element of this pandemic, how long will it take for us to get the pandemic under control? How long will it take before businesses open again? Even on a scaled basis? How long will businesses be able to survive before we get back to a normal trading environment? Those of us that have taken some of the Government supports including the salary subsidy are reliant on getting back to work sooner rather than later. Business decisions are taken based on scenario mapping, carrying out cash flow analysis and making decisions that are based on circumstances outside of our control and in many respects a leap of faith. Government needs to develop and communicate an exit strategy that can support small to medium enterprise sector to get back to work. We need a road map and timeline that will aid our business survival and support the decisions we need to take over the coming days and weeks to survive.
For those lucky enough to be working, albeit with a reduction in volumes (in most cases), it is important that all efforts are made to pay creditors. Keeping the cash flowing will make all the difference and increase business survival rates. Without the wheels on the road essential goods and services will not get delivered, we need to ensure our hauliers are paid and continue to be paid within agreed credit terms during this crisis.
We recently received clarification from the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport clarification as to who essential workers are ‘every element of the supply chain is a vital link in ensuring a continuous flow of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic’. Surely, Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT) centres are essential to the supply chain in that they ensure a safety standard. We need as many businesses as possible operational to support the supply chain. To open CVRT test centres now, even on a limited basis is recommended, as this would allow those with the ability to get their vehicles and trailers tested within test dates to do so. This strategy would get people that want to work, back to work and alleviate future strains on the system where the numbers looking for test appointments will result in unprecedented demand and as a consequence more vehicles will be running without valid CVRT for longer than necessary. A pragmatic approach needs to be taken and the action Government takes now will have a profound and lasting impact on our future.
For now, the safety of our drivers and all working within in the supply chain is critical. FTA Ireland has recently identified and communicated the necessity for new health and safety protocols for couriers and delivery companies distributing into the Nation’s hospitals. These issues need to be acknowledged and actioned by the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health as a matter of urgency. Working together we will keep the supply chain open and safe.”
FTA Ireland has published a COVID-19 addendum for Driver Handbooks.
Contents include: What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How coronavirus can spread in vehicles? Also featured Cleaning & Decontamination recommendations.
“We recommend that the information is used to develop toolbox talks to highlight the ongoing requirement for hand washing and precautions to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” explained Aidan.
Health & Safety Hints and Tips for Drivers:
- Avoid all handshakes or physical contact with anyone while on your delivery routes, at base, loading or unloading bays etc.
- Always use gloves when outside your vehicle, for example when unloading, when giving delivery notes to be signed, when handing over smaller items from your cab.
- Before getting back into your vehicle after carrying out your delivery, sanitize your hands thoroughly and sanitiser your hands regularly throughout the day.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
- Use antibacterial wipes to wipe down your door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, gear stick on a regular basis.
- If you do need to use public toilets, wipe the seat with an anti-bacterial wipe and wash your hands thoroughly with soaps and water after use.
- Wash your hands before preparing your food or preparing a hot drink (coffee, tea).
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