26 March 2020
At the time of writing, many logistics
workers in the UK are now considered ‘key workers’ in the fight against the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic. This means that, rather than staying at home, healthy
logistics workers can continue to keep the nation’s supply chains moving,
carrying out essential duties that ensure we all have what we need during this
period of uncertainty.
Logistics businesses that have been classed
as key include:
those working as part of the
health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of
medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
those involved in food
production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those
essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and
those who will keep the air,
water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating throughout
COVID-19, including those working on transport systems through which supply
those in the oil, gas,
electricity, waste disposal and water sectors (including sewerage), as well as
key staff working in the civil nuclear and chemicals industry.
Now more than ever, it’s plain to see the
vital role the logistics industry plays in the UK’s core infrastructure -
something we have always recognised and understood at Touchstar. We are
immensely proud of the logistics sector and to support its continued diligence
at such a challenging time. As such, we aim to signpost logistics businesses towards
pragmatic advice and information designed to protect health and keep operations
Where logistics companies and key workers can find
information and guidance
The COVID-19 pandemic has developed
rapidly, indeed far more quickly than many of us would have anticipated. We are
all trying to adapt the way we live and work. As key workers, those within logistics
businesses require clear and cohesive guidance on continuing to run their
operations safely and without risk to their employees or customers.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has
created an online Coronavirus Advice Hub,
containing important information and guidance specifically for the logistics
industry. With direct links to government, the FTA is an authoritative resource,
well-placed to provide official advice and ensure the needs of the sector are
heard. We will be keeping a close eye on this resource during this time and
encourage our customers to do the same.
The FTA is also running a CoronavirusLogistics Impact Survey. This enables logistics firms to confidentially
share the ways in which their operations are being impacted by COVID-19 and
crucially, to inform the FTA’s briefings with government officials, including
the Secretary of State for Business, Environment and Industry Strategy (BEIS).
Survey results will be published weekly and will give invaluable insight into
the challenges the industry faces over the coming weeks, as well as how these
change over time.
FTA survey was published on 20th March, with results from 553
respondents. At this point, approximately 10 per cent of HGV drivers were
self-isolating due to the virus, and those surveyed reported the biggest
negative impacts to business planning and revenue.
How logistics businesses can protect their key workers and
With the country depending on the national
supply chain more than ever before, it’s imperative that logistics businesses
know the correct steps to take to protect the health of key workers and
customers, while still carrying out their roles.
There is a full list of official government
advice for businesses on COVID-19 on gov.uk,
as well as guidance on what to do if someone becomes ill on site, and
downloadable posters and leaflets to remind staff of public health advice. Here
are some of the key points:
If someone becomes unwell in
the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should
be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home.
Employees should be reminded to
wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in
tissues. Employers should provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff and
encourage them to use them.
Objects and surfaces that are
touched regularly should be frequently cleaned and disinfected, using standard
Employers should use their
discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for
employees who are unwell. This will allow GPs to focus on their patients.
Employees from defined
vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and
work from there if possible.
Of course, these guidelines could change at
any time, so we’ll do our best to share any new information affecting the
logistics industry as and when it becomes available.
We hope that during this difficult time,
our rugged mobile devices continue to play their vital part in enabling
logistics key workers to operate safely.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - PETER MARSH
Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001. Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries.
In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.