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Implementing best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

As our provincial governments slowly ease business restrictions during the next few months, preparation may be necessary to ensure your vehicle is in good working condition if it was stationary during COVID-19.

Daily pre trip inspections are a must but for a vehicle that has not been in service for a longer period a full mechanical inspection is necessary. A stationary vehicle can experience minor items such as incorrect tire pressure to more complex items resulting from corrosion, vandalism or even animal nesting.  Do not get caught on your pre-inspection and be pro-active making sure electrical components, wiring harnesses, air, brake and fuel lines are all damage free and operating as required … Remember that dealers and other repair shops will see a higher than average volumes once we start to return to normal work conditions.

Batteries are a commonly overlooked.  Trucks that have been parked for a prolonged time; even when switched off, will still draw current due to supply voltage to the on-board computers. If your truck is parked close to a power outlet, it is recommended that a trickle charger be used to keep the truck battery charged over long periods of inactivity.

Stationary trucks will also have the engine oil run off the surfaces inside an engine. While this commonly happens even if parked overnight, it is important after long stretches of not using your truck to avoid starting up and jumping quickly onto a highway, as the lack of lubrication can cause damage to your engine. It is recommended to let the engine run for a few minutes, at idling RPM’s or to drive at low speeds on the road before getting onto a highway where the engine is worked harder than on a city street.

Preventive Maintenance
For a fleet of trucks parked outdoors, the need for mechanical servicing will still be necessary and in our new way of doing business of practicing social distancing, the safe handling and exchange of the vehicle is crucial.

Hino dealership service centres across Canada remain open and are committed to servicing your needs. Ensure mechanical concerns and service intervals are up to date by visiting a HINO Dealer or call to book an appointment. 

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Personal hygiene is now top of the list and it is as simple as washing your hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer.

When it comes to your cab, the formula is also simple – regular soap and water. Spend extra time on the commonly touched surfaces including the steering wheel, buttons, latches and handles, gear shift, control knobs, seat belts, cup holder, fuel filler cap, mirrors and sun visor. You can use disinfecting wipes for these specific areas because the germs are harder to shift but avoid using bleach or ammonia-based products and protect your vehicle’s interior.

Keep hand sanitizer, wipes, or soap and water stocked in your Hino vehicle including disposable gloves for fueling.

What to look out for if you start to feel unwell
Staying on the road is a major priority but your health must always come first. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 for urgent medical assistance.

Stay home if you are sick or might be sick. Follow the Public Health Agency of Canada steps for self-assessment.

There are now several resources available to ensure you are up to date and are implementing best practices. One recommended app is the Canada Self-Assessment Tool and App, which can be downloaded: Canada Self-Assessment App.

Changes to your workplace
Physical distancing is crucial in stopping the spread of the virus, so you should do what you can to reduce contact with colleagues and customers. This means staying at least two metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your household. Ideally arrange for goods to be dropped off at a pre-designated area that does not require physical contact and if at all possible, you should try to modify your shifts to avoid peak times.

If you are also a business owner, follow your provincial and local government’s advice when considering the implementation of the correct processes in your workplace. Workplace Safety Canada also offers some further practical advice.

If you are a small business there are basic guidelines from Health and Safety for small businesses page that can help you.

If you are a business which has experienced low demand, this time should be spent to catch up on paperwork and plan for the future. Take this opportunity to review processes and implement new technologies, which will enhance efficiencies. Ensure your service intervals are up to date and visit your local Hino Dealer.

Be ready for when normality returns. 

Our industry is being tested but we will persevere and become stronger in the long term. Remain vigilant with your health and safety and remember Hino is with you all the way!

Whether it is a short or long haul, implement daily pre-checks which includes checking the engine compartments for oil, coolant, and all other fluid levels and leaks, as well as fan belt condition and tension.

Lights are important safety features, so do a general check over of your vehicle to make sure all headlights, brakes, tail, clearance, and indicator lights are all working.

Check that the brake pedal feels normal and that when applied, the vehicle stops as expected and without pulling to the side. Tire pressures and tread wear is also a daily must, as too that your windshield wipers are in working order and the rubber blades not perished.

Have credit cards ready. Some border crossings and toll roads are electronic to reduce the handling of cash and coins.

Ensure that you always have Safety Warning Triangles on hand in case of an unavoidable breakdown. Lastly, make sure your registration and insurance are up to date and not expired.

Manage driver fatigue and practice low risk driving. It is more vital than ever to take required breaks for your physical and mental health. We all feel anxiety and stress from time to time, and during the COVID-19 pandemic this can have heightened effects on our mental health that can lead to detrimental effects on our physical health. Reach out for support and get the advice you need. There are plenty of resources available to help you during this challenging time:  Mental Health Commission of Canada