If, as an employer, you organize pooled transport for your employees, you must take the necessary preventive measures. First of all, social distancing (minimum 1.5m) must be respected. If this is not possible, additional measures such as partitions in vehicles are necessary. What conditions must such partitions meet?
The generic guide has the following to say about the common transport organized by the employer:
Respect social distancing, but if this is not possible, limit the number of people in the vehicle and/or provide partitions (in sufficiently flexible material with attention to visibility and safety); also use mouth masks where necessary. Ensure that ventilation and ventilation systems in the means of transport are properly functioning and maintained, and pay particular attention to hygiene inside the vehicles used by different people.
In certain cases, the necessary partitions may therefore have to be provided in the (company) vehicles if the social distancing of 1.5m cannot be complied with.
What conditions must these partitions meet? Do these partitions not pose a problem for the approval of the vehicle? Do I have to go to inspection after installing a partition?
The various authorities have provided an explanation about temporary removable partitions in vehicles. The content is largely the same.
- Flemish Region (74,5 kB)
- Walloon Region (90,3 kB)
- Brussels Capital Region (462,3 kB)
Provided that the partition is easily removable (without having to use tools, in the event of an emergency, for instance), it is not necessary to go to inspection specifically after installation of such partition. The temporary partition will nonetheless be checked at the next visit to inspection. Fixed partitions are always subject to a new approval.
The police may issue tickets if your temporary partition does not meet the inspection requirements.
Such a temporary partition must meet a number of very important requirements:
- The partition must be easy to remove (without having to use tools);
- The material of the partition must be flexible and must not shatter or splinter very easily: high-quality, impact-resistant polycarbonate or an equivalent material should preferably be used.
- Flexible, transparent plastic curtains are allowed as an alternative, provided they remain tensioned at all times;
- Plexiglas (acrylic) is not allowed because it shatters when broken and can cause injuries;
- Light permeability must be such that the driver's field of vision and indirect vision (mirrors) are safeguarded. It is advisable to obtain a certificate from the supplier of the partition;
- The partition must not prevent the proper functioning of the safety belts, airbags, etc., so as to ensure the safety of all passengers.
Request a certificate of the material used and the light permeability from the supplier/manufacturer of the partition.
It is also advisable to contact the leasing and/or insurance companies (car insurance and occupational accident insurance) and ask permission to install the partition, as well as to check whether cover is provided in the event of accidents.
Mouth masks are recommended in a company vehicle used by several employees (simultaneously or consecutively), even if the social distancing requirement can be met and even if partitions are provided.
The reason is that a vehicle should be considered as a small 'enclosed' space after all. It is impossible to prevent the spread of virus particles without mouth masks.