Edwin Hollingworth, who has been advising the AA Driving School and BSM, believes understanding the importance of PPE will help ensure driving instructors feel confident using it.
All AA and BSM instructors have been provided with extensive guidance on how to safely manage lessons during COVID-19.
He said: “It’s really important driving instructors use necessary PPE and, crucially, they use it in the right way.
“There are a few myths going around about face masks, which are not very helpful. We hope that by giving people all the information in a clear way, it will help them make responsible decisions about how to best protect themselves as they restart working.
“The DVSA guidance is useful for explaining what instructors should be doing. The danger is that, the longer this situation goes on, complacency may start to creep in. But, by understanding why PPE is important, hopefully we can help mitigate this.”
Here, Edwin explains why certain aspects of PPE are important and how they should be used.
There are several grades of face mask available as well as face coverings. The following will assist you when wearing them.
Put the face covering on ensuring you cover your mouth and nose, making sure there are no gaps between your face and the covering and taking care to tuck away any loose ends.
Avoid touching the covering while using it. If you do, either wash your hands with soap and water, if available, or use hand sanitiser while in the lesson.
For pupils wearing glasses and a face covering, you should be aware of the increased possibility of glasses/eye protection fogging up. Where issues arise with this on lessons, make sure you safely resolve the problem.
We are not making the use of gloves mandatory for our instructors, but many may choose to wear them.
Ideally these should be nitrile gloves and worn for the duration of the lesson. They should be disposed of after each lesson to ensure no cross contamination from pupil to pupil. We have not made these mandatory as we still believe cleaning of and sanitising of hands is the most effective form of control.
Cleanliness of vehicle and ventilation
It’s especially important to clean all the ‘touch points’ before and after every lesson using anti-viral spray or wipes. These ‘touch points’ include the door handles, seatbelts, manual controls (gear stick, indicators etc), mirrors and steering wheel.
Windows should be left open as much as possible, by allowing clean fresh air to enter the vehicle throughout the lesson this will disperse quickly any potentially infected aerosols that may be in the vehicle, and therefore reducing the risk of inhaling these particles.
Disposing of used PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and anti-viral wipes, must be disposed of separately to general waste. PPE must be disposed of and double bagged daily.
Dispose of the PPE using normal collection methods at least 72 hours after the items were used.
Allowing 72 hours between disposal and collection will allow enough time for the virus to die so it will no longer be a potential infection source.
We have not installed protective screens in any AA or BSM tuition cars. For obvious reasons, it is very important an instructor can quickly and easily reach the steering wheel. While there were some screens coming to the market that allowed for some access to the wheel, this meant they did not provide a sufficient amount of virus protection. As such, we believe it is safer for lessons to take place with other PPE measures in place.
Instructors should wash their hands before and after every lesson. If they are wearing short sleeves they should ensure they also wash their forearms. Ideally, clothes that provide full arm and leg cover should be worn as this prevents any virus particles from dropping onto your skin and being missed when cleaning/sanitising. Wearing long sleeved clothing reduces this risk and wash these clothes at the end of each day to remove any potential infection
Source: ADI News
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