DAERA vehicle guidance

In an effort to protect staff from the COVID-19 virus and to reduce the risk of potential cross-contamination from contact with vehicles, which have high usage, the following guidance should be adopted immediately throughout DAERA:

  • Driving during working hours for work purposes could be considered to create a significant additional risk with regard to exposure to the COVID-19 virus and therefore any such activity should be subject to a robust risk assessment process;
  • Risk Assessment for any work-related driving activity should follow the same principles as for any other work activity and associated DAERA / Group Health & Safety Arrangement policies apply;
  • If possible, the preferred option should be to avoid a risk altogether, if the task (journey) can be avoided until the risk reduces to an acceptable level;
  • If the journey is essential then the manager must evaluate the risks that cannot be avoided by carrying out a Risk Assessment;
  • As a general rule, staff should not share vehicles (both fleet and personal) in the current situation, unless it is an emergency and no other practical option is available;
  • If it is unavoidable to share a personal car, then apply distancing within the vehicle as far as possible;
  • Where possible, prior to the journey the vehicle owner / driver should disinfect the touch points, i.e. use disinfectant wipes for car door handles and controls, keys or start button, steering wheel, gear shift, seats, all buttons and knobs on the dash, sun visor, anything touchscreen, the console and cup holders;
  • Recommend to use a disposable microfiber cloth to wipe touchscreens (unless your manual says otherwise);
  • Where possible use disinfectant wipes for leather / specialist spray for cloth seats;
  • Passengers should be reminded to refrain from touching surfaces;
  • It is recognised that in certain cases specialist DAERA vehicles such as various agricultural / horticultural plant equipment are the only vehicles that can be used.  Managers must consider the particular attributes of these vehicles in the driving risk assessment;
  • The responsible manager (or the person assigned to maintain the vehicle) must regularly (at least daily, but more frequently if the vehicle is used by multiple staff) disinfect surfaces;
  • Avoid carrying passengers unless there is no other practical option available;
  • Staff should arrange to meet at designated sites instead of travelling together, whilst observing official distancing guidance; and
  • In an effort to reduce the risks to staff and others they are in contact with, managers should try to strictly limit the number of users and use of vehicles as far as possible.
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