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Confused about PPE? Canada has tips for safe trucking

New guidelines from Transport Canada explain how and when truckers should use personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of getting or transmitting COVID-19

Tommy G., a driver with Arnold Transportation Services in Texas, wears a medical face mask. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The Canadian government issued new recommendations Wednesday on how and when truck drivers and other transportation workers can best utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of getting or transmitting COVID-19. 

While not requirements, Transport Canada’s guidelines provide best practices for how drivers and carriers can effectively use PPE as businesses reopen and freight volumes ramp up.

The biggest one: Drivers should wear a mask or face covering whenever they exit their cab and are unable to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) from another person. 

Transport Canada also suggests using nonmedical masks or face coverings for most circumstances. Medical masks should be worn when a person is in proximity to people with COVID-19, or those more susceptible to it such as older people and those with compromised immune systems.

N95 respirator masks should be used under specific occupational health and safety recommendations as protection from airborne particles, according to Transport Canada’s guidelines.

Transport Canada advises wearing gloves when coming into physical contact with another person or items that might be contaminated.

Face shields or goggles, meanwhile, offer an added layer of protection when someone comes into contact with someone without a face mask. 

Drivers are also advised to clean the high-touch surfaces of their cabs with a hard-surface disinfectant approved by Health Canada.

Transport Canada noted that the guidelines don’t replace rules from other federal or provincial authorities. In April, the Public Health Agency of Canada issued a directive requiring drivers to wear face masks or coverings while crossing the border from the U.S.

Read Transport Canada’s best practices for the use of PPE in transportation.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak.

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]