THE Victorian Transport Association has reminded members and every transport operator and business that works in freight and logistics to practice “exceptional hygiene” in order to safeguard “the integrity of national supply chains”.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson said while maximising road access to heavy vehicles and delivery trucks servicing supermarkets remained important, an even greater issue confronting the transport industry and broader community is encouraging good hygiene practices at every step in the supply chain to prevent its collapse.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated just how vulnerable supply chains are to disruption and given how contagious the virus is, practicing exceptional personal hygiene and following medical advice has never been more important for people who work in supply chains and logistics,” he said.

“We’ve issued guidance to our members to remind drivers and other staff to wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing, and keep their working environments – including trucks – clean and disinfected.

“Following medical advice and staying home if staff are feeling unwell is also essential and we’ve been encouraged at how our members have proactively engaged with their workforce to keep them safe.”

ADVERTISEMENT  

Mr Anderson said the dozens of large distribution centres around the country where supermarkets warehouse and prepare goods for delivery were especially vulnerable.

“Distribution centres are hives of activity and require warehouse workers to pack pallets and interact with each other and truck drivers to despatch goods to supermarket shelves.

“If coronavirus was introduced to one or more of those centres it would have a ripple effect throughout the supply chain and could impact on the availability of goods and services. We must avoid this at all costs,” he said.

The VTA said transport workers are discouraged from close interaction with others at these centres, in addition to wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and regularly disinfecting their vehicles.

“Warehouse workers are also following their own protocols and we have every confidence the integrity of these critical facilities can be preserved if everyone works together and does the right thing,” Mr Anderson said.

ADVERTISEMENT