The Covid-19 death rate for professional drivers is one of the highest, according to new data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It shows that among men, taxi drivers and chauffeurs (36.4 deaths per 100,000), and bus and coach drivers (26.4 deaths per 100,000) were found to have increased rates of death.
Following health and social care workers, professional drivers were the most heavily impacted working group, followed by those in sales and retail.
The ONS figures are based on deaths involving Covid-19 registered between March 9 and April 20.
A total of 2,494 deaths involving the coronavirus in the working age population (those aged 20 to 64 years) in England and Wales were registered up to and including April 20.
The ONS said: “Nearly two-thirds of these deaths were among men (1,612 deaths), with the rate of death involving COVID-19 being statistically higher in males, with 9.9 deaths per 100,000 compared with 5.2 deaths per 100,000 females (882 deaths).
“Compared with the rate among people of the same sex and age in England and Wales, men working in the lowest skilled occupations had the highest rate of death involving Covid-19, with 21.4 deaths per 100,000 males (225 deaths); men working as security guards had one of the highest rates, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 (63 deaths)”
However, it stressed: “This analysis does not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving Covid-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.”
It said it had adjusted for age, but not for other factors such as ethnic group and place of residence.
Addison Lee is fitting partition screens across its fleet of 4,000 vehicles as part of a package measures to protect drivers and customers.
The private hire operator says that drivers are already provided with protective equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and disinfectant.
It is also employing an electrostatic antimicrobial cleanse of vehicles and facilitates social distancing using the rear seats of its seven-seater vehicles.
FleetCheck is urging employers to update fleet risk management policies to include coronavirus measures following the latest Government advice.
The fleet software specialist says that the ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in or from a Vehicle’ guidance, issued last week, provides a sensible framework to manage the possibility of infection around the use of company vehicles.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “The fact is that coronavirus is going to be very much part of everyday fleet management for the foreseeable future and that businesses need to tackle the issue as proactively as possible.
“In order to minimise the likelihood of employees being exposed to the virus, many or even most fleets have already adopted a range of measures on an ad hoc basis and the new official guidance provides a means to build on this improvisational approach."