24 Jun Private hire drivers: The PPE you need to keep yourself safe
We all hoped to have been out of lockdown by now. But with new coronavirus variants taking hold, it’s important to keep doing what you can to protect yourself and your loved ones, as well as your riders.
Here’s a rundown of the latest requirements as things stand, depending on where you are in the UK. As well as what steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe, we’ve also tried to give you some rough costs on what you can expect to pay, and where you can get hold of what you need.
While the requirements are based on your area, the tips and resources apply nationwide.
England, including the North-West and London
England is expected to move to step four of its roadmap out of lockdown on 19th July, with government reviews before then in case the risks have reduced.
There are some areas in England where the new Covid-19 variant, also known as the Delta variant, is spreading. These include Birmingham, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Hounslow and North Tyneside. As a reminder, the government advice is for travel in and out of these affected areas to be minimised where possible.
The government advises self-employed drivers to carry out a risk assessment if you haven’t already done so. If you and your local licensing authority decide it’s appropriate, safety screens can be fitted to separate you and your riders. You can read the government guidance on choosing and fitting screens here.
In London last year, Transport for London approved the use of safety screens developed by Toyota to protect private hire drivers and riders. The screen is installed by Toyota-qualified technicians and is compatible with all recent Prius models and the Toyota Corolla range.
Available through Toyota retailers, safety screens cost around £195 for the medium screen and £210 for the larger version, including VAT and fitting.
On face coverings and masks, the government says these are recommended if it doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely. Your local licensing authority or operator may also ask you to wear a face mask.
Amazon has a face mask store, where you can choose from reusable cloth masks from around £2, a set of 50 disposable masks from £8 and masks certified for medical use for greater protection from £4.
Wales & Scotland
Earlier this year the Welsh Government allowed private hire drivers in Wales to apply for free personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning materials.
The pack included reusable medical face masks, hand sanitiser, cloths, wipes and gloves. Applications for the free packs have now closed, but you can still buy Covid-safe products through the Lyreco website.
For a one-stop shop, you can buy a complete PPE Care Kit from PPE Company Care. This includes one secure fit and one comfortable fit mask, hand sanitiser, wipes and gloves – you can bulk buy or get a sample pack for £10.99 plus VAT.
In Scotland, revised protection levels for local authorities have been in place since 5 June. You can find out more about the latest travel guidance in Scotland here. Transport Scotland says where a protective screen has been fitted, you don’t need to wear a mask as well. Guidance from the Scottish Taxi Federation advises private hire drivers to clean down the passenger area after every pick-up, reduce the handling of cash if applicable and follow social distancing rules at taxi ranks in particular.
A note on cleaning your vehicle
Local councils and licensing authorities are a good place to find specific guidance for your area. For example, Transport for London have put together some detailed info on Covid safety for private hire drivers, including a five-minute video on keeping your vehicle clean and safe at every stage of your shift.
At INSHUR, we help our private hire drivers stay safe while on the road. To make sure you’re covered, whatever happens, check out our options for private hire insurance today.