Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment – drivers
Taxi drivers who are self-employed should conduct a risk assessment to understand the risks and what can be done about them. As a driver it is no requirement to have anything written down about the risk assessment undertaken, but as part of that assessment if the decision to install a safety screen between the front row of seats and the passengers is taken there is guidance available at how to choose and fit a screen safely in a vehicle, and you may have to consult the local licensing authority also.
As a vehicle driver coming into contact with members of the public drivers are advised to regularly undertake covid tests.
Picking up passengers
Before they enter the vehicle passenger should be asked if they have:
- coronavirus symptoms – a fever, new cough or loss of smell or taste
- had a positive coronavirus test in the last 10 days
If the passenger has any of the above the provision of service should be refused.
Drivers should continue to support passengers with disabilities to enter and exit the vehicle safely, and assist with their luggage and mobility equipment. But before and after contact with passengers and their luggage it is important that drivers should wash or sanitise their hands.
Whilst in the vehicle passengers must wear face coverings when travelling in England in taxis and private hire vehicles, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. Guidance on exemptions can be found in the safer transport guidance for operators.
Communication of this information to passengers must be made, either by:
- displaying appropriate notices prominently in the vehicle, if this is permissible under any other licensing requirements
- taking other appropriate measures to ensure that passengers are aware of this requirement, for example by reminding them when they enter the vehicle and making sure they understand the requirement fully
Passengers can be refused travel if they are not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse, but they do not need to provide evidence of exemption.
Persons must not be prevented from wearing a face covering or be asked to remove it, except where briefly required to verify a person’s identity.
The licensing authority or operator may ask drivers to wear a face covering and their guidance should be followed if it does not affect the ability to drive safely. The face covering may need to be removed in order to communicate with passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Open windows when carrying passengers and/or use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh air from outside. The recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation system is not recommended.
Take contactless payment if you can, but if not then hand washing or sanitising after handling money is required.
PHV operators and taxi intermediaries
PHV operators and taxi intermediaries that are employers must carry out a risk assessment in line with government guidance. But where there are fewer than 5 employees, including non-drivers (dispatchers, booking agents etc), there is no requirement to have anything written down as part of that assessment.
Health information should be provided to drivers and passengers through smartphone apps, text message and displaying posters within operating centres. Also:
- encourage the drivers you work with to read the drivers guidance
- remind passengers of the requirement to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse
- display posters to remind drivers and passengers of hygiene good practice – stickers or notices used in the vehicle should not reduce the driver’s view through the windscreen and front windows, or their view of mirrors
- share messages to encourage drivers and passengers to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app
- remind passengers to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before entering the vehicle
Drivers do not have to wear a face covering, but it is recommended that they do if it does not affect their ability to drive safely.