Guidelines to help keep your cab, sleeper free of flu germs

| 10/27/2009

The White House, the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have combined efforts on flu information with the Web site.

Because truck drivers specifically are among the job classifications at risk for contracting the flu, the Web site has guidelines on truck cab cleaning. The guidelines include the following:

  • Anyone cleaning truck cabs should use disposable gloves, and should never wash or reuse the gloves. Eye protection including goggles could be required if the cleaning will include splashing.
  • Frequently touched surfaces – including the steering wheel, switches, door grab handles, gauges, knobs and controls and every other non-porous surface – should be cleaned first with detergent and water and then disinfected. Keep the surface wet with disinfectant for the full contact time recommended by the disinfectant manufacturer, and avoid using product application methods that cause splashing or generate aerosols.
  • Disposable or reusable plastic covers can be used to protect porous surfaces like mattresses from contamination. The covers should be either discarded or cleaned as soon as possible.
  • For spills of body fluids, such as vomit from a sick driver:
  • Immediately cover the spill with an absorbent gelling powder, or at least disposable paper towels/cloths.
  • Because disinfectants are not “registered for use on porous surfaces”, the guidelines recommend removing porous upholstery, rugs and carpeting that have been exposed to vomit or feces carefully and laundering. Upholstery and carpet that can’t be removed may be cleaned with water and detergent before being allowed to air dry.
  • Throw away gloves and soiled material in a sturdy, leak-proof plastic bag that is tied shut and never reopened. Rugs and carpeting should be removed from the truck in the same manner. Such bags should be considered routine solid wastes that can be sent to municipal landfills without additional treatment.
  • After cleaning and removing gloves, immediately wash hands with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand gel and wash hands with soap and water as soon as possible. Avoid touching the face with gloved or unwashed hands.
  • Don’t use compressed air and/or water under pressure for cleaning or other methods that may cause splashing or which might re-aerosolize infectious material. Vacuum cleaners should be used only after proper disinfection has occurred. Vacuum cleaners should be maintained to minimize dust dispersal and should be equipped with HEPA filters.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer