IGA News

Member Spotlight - Bushey Hall Garage shares advice on managing PPE left in customer vehicles

Member Spotlight - Bushey Hall Garage shares advice on managing PPE left in customer vehicles

30 October 2020

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the UK public are using increased amounts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to decrease the spread of COVID-19 – but when a garage requires access to the personal space in a vehicle’s cabin, how can it affect their staff?

IGA members Bushey Hall Garage are just one of the garages who have seen an increase in PPE left within a vehicle’s cabin. Director of the garage, Dawn Ayres, said: “Masks have been found on the dashboard, by the handbrake, draped over the gearstick or indicator arm, on the seats and on vehicle floors.”

PPE, such as masks and gloves, are worn in direct contact with a person. It’s unavoidable for a working technician to remain out of contact with any potential viral particles left by a customer having their PPE within the space.

Although garage businesses have been subject to stringent COVID-19 distancing and hygiene guidance, the impact of potential viral spread can cause a real threat to the safety of a business – particularly one where the staff are required to take a hands-on approach.

Of the steps Bushey Hall Garage is taking to avoid the issue, Dawn said: “Vehicle owners arranging to book vehicles in are reminded to remove all PPE from the cabin at the time of booking, and again to confirm removal of PPE on their arrival.

If they haven’t already, they are asked to remove the PPE before we start working on their vehicle. We may refuse to work on the vehicle until PPE is removed, or the customer faces the additional charge of sanitising their vehicle ahead of the vehicle entering our workshops.

We also offer a sanitisation service here and many customers are having their vehicle services carried out then having it done as an add on. This happens when the job is complete and ahead of vehicle return, not at the start. There are other customers who have heard about this service and as their vehicle is used by others, they want to have it done too. We offer it as a stand alone service or as an add on to other work carried out.”

The hygiene and cleanliness standards garages must maintain to remain COVID compliant include risk assessments for premises and staff to ensure minimal opportunities for viral transmission, but external influences such as customer vehicles can present a real problem. Although a vehicle is a motorist’s personal space 99% of the time, they do need to consider the consequences of the 1% time period where others are in that space.

Where possible, garages may want to take steps to remind their customers of this potential problem – whether in the same fashion as Bushey Hall Garage or through other means. The most important issue for garages is to make sure they are following the Government’s COVID-secure guidance, which you can read here.

For more information you can view the IGA’s COVID-19 guidance for independent garages here. If you have any queries please call the IGA direct member helpline, or 0845 305 4230. You can also contact us via email at enquiries@rmif.co.uk.