The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided resources with tips and recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 when carpooling or ridesharing to and from work. These can be especially useful to manufacturing employees, who often cannot work from home or remotely and use shuttles or carpool, to better minimize the inherent risks of close-contact travel during or to and from work.
The safest option is to avoid carpooling to and from work. However, when that is not possible, the CDC tips provide useful guidelines. Additionally, they can be useful when manufacturers and employers require a shuttle to transport employees.
The CDC recommends the following:
- Limit the number of people per vehicle as much as possible, trying to ride to work with the same people as much as possible. This may mean using more vehicles.
- Encourage employees to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Staying at least six feet apart while waiting.
- Encourage employees to use hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and when arriving at the destination.
- Encourage employees in a shared van or car space to wear cloth masks.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces after each carpool or shuttle trip (e.g., door handles, handrails, and seatbelt buckles).
- Encourage employees to follow coughing and sneezing etiquette when in the vehicle.
- Circulate fresh air through vents or windows.
The CDC also recommends that manufacturing employers promote social distancing during the arrival and departure times of employees by staggering workers’ arrival and departure times to avoid workers congregating in parking areas, locker rooms, and near time clocks. Staggering employee arrival and departure times will augment the CDC recommendations as employees on the same schedule are more likely to rideshare to work together.
Minimal changes to workers’ arrival and departure times can help facilitate social distancing, but employers must analyze and calculate these times to ensure compliance with the applicable wage and hour statutes.
Following the CDC recommendations can mitigate the inherent risks associated with close-contact travel; however, manufacturing employers wishing to assess their specific needs should consult experienced counsel.