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COVID -19 recovery for the UK transport sector

Casualty|Future of Work|Integrated Wellbeing
COVID 19 Coronavirus

By Andrew Millinship | June 8, 2020

Driver and passenger protection systems – what are the risks?

As we start to see recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are quite rightly looking to see how they can further control the possible spread of the virus where employees cannot sufficiently distance themselves from others.

In many areas, such as construction, home deliveries of white goods and installation work, it is normal practice for employees to travel together in the cab of the same vehicle.

companies are now producing separation systems comprising of a transparent material

To manage the risks created by inadequate social distancing many companies are now producing separation systems comprising of a transparent material, rigidly fitted in smaller commercial vehicles such as vans to provide a physical separation between driver and passenger.

Any system deployed should ensure:

  • The driver’s vision is not compromised
  • Regular and adequate cleaning is possible
  • The systems layout does not compromise cleaning of other areas
  • Its design does not have unprotected edges
  • Its design does not induce excessive glare or reflections
  • Its installation does not cause heating, ventilation and importantly, demisting systems to function ineffectively

Any system introduced should not impose any additional level of harshness to the driver environment including:

  • Increased noise levels
  • Increased vibration.

Consideration should also be given to the possibility of a vehicle being involved in a road traffic incident, ensuring:

  • The system does not prevent the deployment of any vehicle safety system such as air bags
  • The system does not compromise the ability of the driver to safely reach or operate vehicle controls
  • The system does not cause any changes to the way in which the vehicles structure was designed to react in an impact
  • The system or part of the system will not shatter or delaminate in such a way as to present a physical danger to the driver and passengers
  • That the system or part of the system would not deform in such a way as to hinder escape from the vehicle i.e. by compromising the ability to reach seat belt release mechanisms or restrict access to driver and passenger by the Emergency Services.

As the systems are rigidly fixed, this could be conceived as a modification to a vehicle and so such a modification should be notified to insurers and discussed.

While these systems could be effective in providing an increased level of protection, the risks associated with their use must be evaluated, as it may be the reduction in one area of risk causes an increase in another area.

For further information or guidance, please contact your Willis Towers Watson representative.

Disclaimer

Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for COVID-19. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include COVID-19 coverage.

The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources we consider to be reliable, however we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort, or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently. The information given in this publication is believed to be accurate at the date of publication shown at the top of this document. This information may have subsequently changed or have been superseded and should not be relied upon to be accurate or suitable after this date.

Author

Risk Management Executive – Transport Risk

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