New requirements for COVID-19 testing and other safety protocols for international hauliers will be in place in the UK from 6th April 2021. Read on to learn more.
COVID-19 testing for international hauliers
All hauliers entering England from abroad and staying longer than 2 days must take a COVID-19 test, starting from 6th April.
The test must be taken within two days of arrival and repeated every 3 days thereafter.
Free tests are available at DfT (Department for Transport) Information and Advice sites, or from workplace and community testing centres and home testing kits.
Though France has removed its requirement for a negative test before entering from the UK, some countries do still require a negative test.
Isolation and other COVID-19 precautions for international hauliers
Drivers and crew entering the UK must self-isolate in the cab during the duration of their stay. They may leave the cab for essential purposes only, including:
- Getting food
- Taking a COVID-19 test
- Seeking assistance for medical requirements or emergencies
- Washing at facilities, including communal showers
- Ensuring the roadworthiness of the vehicle/load
Sleeping and breaks
Drivers should use in-cab sleeping facilities if they are available. Otherwise, drivers may stay in a hotel or B&B.
The weekly 45-hour rest break must be taken at either a COVID-19 secure accommodation, or at home for UK residents.
Additionally, if a driver or crew member displays any COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss/change to sense of smell or taste) they should not travel or work until they have had a COVID-19 test.
Other precautions for drivers & crew
to minimise the spread of COVID-19, drivers and crew should:
- Only leave the cab for essential reasons (eg. eating and washing)
- Wear face coverings indoors where possible
- Use hand sanitiser every time they enter/exit the cab
- Kepp a 2-metre distance from members of the public (unless screens/protective barriers are in place)
- Leave the cab at delivery sites, if required to comply with health and safety rules
While dual-manned cabs are permitted, both drivers should follow the guidance at all times, and operators are advised to permit only those necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle and load to travel.
Equally, operators should aim to limit the length of stay in the UK as far as possible (for those crossing the border from non-UK originating points to unload and/or load in the UK and then return to a non-UK destination).
Only drivers, crew, and others carrying out essential tasks should be permitted in the cab during the journey. This may include enforcement and health officials or breakdown operators if necessary. Where others do have to enter the cab, they should take precautions, like using the appropriate PPE, and vacating the cab prior to entry.
As the employer, operators have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety. This includes protection from the risks of infection with COVID-19.
Operators transporting accompanied freight into and from continental Europe should follow this guidance to help keep drivers and members of the public safe, and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Haulier compliance may be monitored by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), and the police may have the power to take enforcement action for breaches of COVID-19 rules.
Hauliers could also be fined to £2,000 for non-compliance with testing requirements, and up to £1,000 for non-compliance with cab self-isolation requirements.