A Safety Guide for Delivery Drivers

Keep yourself safe from your door to theirs with these tips

If you’re a delivery driver, we give you a big shout out. You’re on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. For years, delivery drivers have offered the world an essential service, as well as convenience. Now, in the age of the novel coronavirus, delivery drivers are helping to keep people safe by delivering necessary supplies and comfort goods to those following shelter-in-place and safer-at-home orders in their communities.

Some people, newly working from home and also tasked with childcare or monitoring their kids’ distance-learning progress, don’t have the time to go out and get things for their household. And in many cases, the most vulnerable individuals are relying solely on delivery drivers to bring them the things they need, and they will continue to do so even after quarantine restrictions start to be eased.

Being on the frontlines as a delivery driver adds another dimension to your job. You have always faced risks—vehicle accidents, deliveries in high-crime areas, feisty pets—but now you have the added element of a new virus to contend with, one that may stick around for a while. We’ve compiled some tips to help keep you safe while you fulfill this important role.

Wear a mask — plus how to make a no-sew version

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a cloth face mask. You should wear yours when entering a grocery store, restaurant, or other business to pick up delivery items. Although contactless delivery is a new best practice, keep your face mask on when arriving at a home, just in case a customer opens their door when you’re dropping off supplies. Also, wear your mask when entering an apartment building. If you don’t have a face mask and aren’t crafty, you can make a no-sew version out of a bandanna (or any square piece of cloth) and two hair ties, using this folding tutorial. Wash your face mask in the laundry after each shift if possible.

Use hand sanitizer — plus where to get it or how to make it

Although washing hands with soap and water is best, obviously that method isn’t the most convenient for delivery drivers. Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is a must, but supplies are low. Yahoo Finance recently compiled a list of retailers that have sanitizer in stock. Some communities also have locations where you can stop in and fill your own bottle with sanitizer from a bulk dispenser. Distilleries and breweries have also pivoted from making drinkable spirits to making sanitizer for essential workers and vulnerable individuals. So if you live near one, check how they’re distributing the product. If you still can’t get hand sanitizer, you can attempt to make your own. Wired offers a recipe and how to find the in-demand ingredients.

Clean your vehicle surfaces regularly

In addition to keeping your hands clean, you’ll want to regularly disinfect surfaces in and on your vehicle. The CDC suggests disinfecting at the beginning and end of each shift. Clean the steering wheel, gear or stick shift, blinker lever, light switches, door handles, seatbelt buckles, and anything else you frequently touch. The CDC has a list of antimicrobial products that are effective against the coronavirus. You can also use diluted household bleach, prepared according to the label, or a product that contains 70 percent alcohol. Clean any tech you use as well, such as your phone for navigation. Check manufacturer recommendations.

Use contactless delivery methods

Most delivery apps and services are allowing for contactless delivery methods. If you arrive, and someone is on their porch, ask them to step inside while you make your delivery. In some cases, such as alcohol drop-off, an identification check may still be needed. If rules allow, ask the customer to leave their ID in a place where you can scan the card without touching it or them and while maintaining a six-foot distance.

Limit contact with surfaces

Unfortunately, sometimes door handles, elevator buttons, and other high-touch surfaces are unavoidable as a delivery driver. Carry wipes, tissues, or disposable Nitrile gloves to use as a barrier. Keep a trash bag in your car to toss them after. When grocery shopping as part of a delivery service, avoid touching items unless they’re going in your cart.

Don’t touch your face

Studies show we touch our faces anywhere from 3 to more than 20 times per hour. Face touching is a habit everyone needs to break, but for a delivery driver, the change is crucial. Figure out a way that works for you. If you have a habit of brushing strands off your forehead or cheeks, wear a hat or tie hair back. If seasonal allergies cause you to claw at your eyes or nose, be diligent about taking an antihistamine, using a nasal spray, or administering eye drops. Sunglasses can also help keep your hands out of your eyes. If you do need to scratch, use a barrier, like a tissue.