Truck drivers worry about coronavirus risks as they haul essential freight

Truckers are worried about the effects of COVID-19 on their health and jobs

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As truck drivers across the country continue to haul freight despite coronavirus-related risks, workers have concerns about how the spread of the virus will affect both their personal situations and their ability to carry out their jobs.

According to a report from WorkHound, a data firm that enables workers to share real-time feedback with their companies, truck drivers began expressing concern over the coronavirus in February.

Nearly 2,000 comments have been submitted so far this month, with many related to the illness.

The top concern among drivers, accounting for one-quarter of comments, was planning. Drivers wanted to know whether their companies had plans in place to tackle obstacles like closed truck stops, what to do with loads from highly-infected areas and how to proceed when loads are disrupted.

A close second was sanitation, including what measures were being taken to keep drivers healthy. As previously reported by FOX Business, drivers are in need of personal protective equipment, and they are also having troubling accessing facilities for basic hygiene, including restrooms, showers, sinks and soap because many states have closed rest stops in an effort to limit person-to-person contact.

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Another 16 percent of comments centered on risk to individuals and their colleagues. Many industries, including hospitals and grocery stores, rely on the freight hauled by truck drivers, and they want to make sure their health and safety are being considered by their employers as well.

Drivers were concerned about benefits because many don’t have sick days or paid-time-off and anyone with the virus or in contact with someone who has the virus is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However, they also recognized the importance of their job to the supply chain.

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The other comments were about work access to basic necessities and pay because some companies serve different niches, so they may have a decline in freight.

An increasing number of essential workers are asking for hazard pay, which is granted to people who are required to remain at work throughout dangerous conditions. On Wednesday, for example, waste removal workers in Pittsburgh did so. They claimed the city wasn’t providing enough protection.

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The trucking industry has been working with lawmakers to address regulatory and compliance hurdles that have arisen as a result of business closures.

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