Professional drivers across North America have been risking their health and safety as they work hard to deliver goods and materials to manufacturers and retailers across the country.
We had the opportunity to chat with Kevin McCaslin, a dedicated member of our Sylvite Transportation team, about his experience driving cross-border through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hi Kevin, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. How long have you been working in the Transportation industry?
Oh, I’ve been in the commercial trucking industry since 1989. Before that I did some trucking, but never commercial, so that’s when I’d say my career started.
Have you ever experienced anything quite like this pandemic?
[Laughs] I have not. Not even the SARS outbreak affected us quite like this pandemic.
How comfortable with your own person safety have you been driving through this pandemic?
I’ve definitely had to adjust some of my daily routines in order to feel safer doing my job, but I can say that by making those changes, I do feel safe as a trucker.
How has your routine changed with the pandemic? How has it stayed the same?
I basically do all my walking around at the Sylvite yards. I don’t stop at US truck stops, and I try not to have to make any unnecessary stops. When I do need to go to a store for groceries, I make sure I have a list with me, so I only have to go about once per week.
How has Sylvite provided you with the tools to stay safe during these challenging times?
Sylvite has been great; they’ve provided the drivers with masks, gloves, and anything else we need; they’ve been great about ensuring they’re able to get what we need. At the beginning of the pandemic it was hard for a lot of places to get their hands on hand sanitizer, but that’s one of the first things we were provided with, which was great.
What has been your biggest struggle in terms of trucking during the pandemic?
I can’t say that I’ve had any big struggles, but I think having to adhere to the different protocols and procedures at different plants has been a learning curve. It seems like each plant is adhering to a different set of rules, so you really have to be attentive as to what you’re allowed to do versus what you can’t do. So it’s been a day to day struggle in that regard. We’ve never been in this situation before, so we must be extra careful.
If you could describe your experience driving through the COVID-19 pandemic in one word, what would that word be?
Alert. Not just in the day to days of trucking, but elsewhere too!
Throughout the spring months, we saw a lot of support for essential and front line workers, which of course included our truck drivers. What are your thoughts on this?
It makes you feel good, that’s for sure. I’m still seeing a lot of posters and signage along the highways in support of our farmers, truckers and health care workers. It feels nice to be appreciated by more than just my family.
If there was one thing you could go back and change in terms of how the Transportation industry handled the pandemic and the shutdown, what would it be?
The awareness of how were staying safe, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It would have been nice if everyone had been on the same page in regards to safety protocols from the very beginning, and we should’ve all had stricter rules from the get-go. I like to say, if we sacrifice our today, we’ll have a better tomorrow!