Maintaining health and safety to minimise risk of COVID-19
Ola is committed to maintaining the health and safety of our drivers and passengers and to provide a safe and quality service to minimise risk of acquiring coronavirus (COVID-19) during this unprecedented time.
All drivers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not harm the health and safety of others.
All Ola drivers are responsible for complying with this policy.
Latest Australian Government advice
The Australian Government is taking steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus including mandatory 14 day self isolation for visiting or returning travellers. Drivers can find out more on the Australian Government Department of Health’s website.
The latest government advice for rideshare drivers is available here.
Latest New Zealand Government advice
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
The New Zealand Government is taking steps to relax restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease. For border control information as to mandatory 14 day self isolation for visiting or returning travellers and use of public transport information, please see: COVID-19 – Border controls.
What drivers should do – General tips
Ola is committed to ensuring that its drivers provide a safe and quality service focused on minimising risks associated with contracting and transmitting COVID-19. Where the relevant government’s guidelines differ from this policy (as restrictions change), the government regulations are to apply.
In line with government guidelines, Ola drivers are encouraged to:
- Keep alcohol-based hand sanitiser for their own use and available for use by their passengers and for regular use after opening and closing doors, moving luggage and accidental personal contact.
- Turn the air conditioner off and have windows open where appropriate to prevent air recirculation. Where the air conditioner is on, the driver is to set the air conditioning to external airflow rather than to recirculation.
- Frequently clean high touch surfaces in between trips such as door handles and internal handles, seats and seat belts, window controls and boot lids with appropriate disinfectant wipes and gloves. Cleaning should focus on arrears where a passenger spreads droplets (such as sneezing, coughing or vomiting).
- Employ standard cleaning methods at the end of each shift, as part of good hygiene practice by continually wiping down surfaces with disinfectant, including a focus on high touch point surfaces.
Before starting their shift
Drivers to self assess
Drivers should not log on to pick up passengers if they are feeling unwell.
For Australia: If a driver suspects that they may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the dedicated Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Visit WHO’s website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
For New Zealand: If a driver suspects that they may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the Ministry of Health Information Line on 0800 855 066. Visit WHO’s website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Please keep Triple One (111) for emergencies only.
Ola drivers may be required to self isolate for a period of 14 days when showing any flu-like symptoms, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Drivers should immediately cease providing services if they are feeling unwell or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results or have been required by health authorities to self-isolate.
Practice good hygiene
Drivers should ensure they take all reasonable precautions to avoid the transmission of the virus or infectious disease ensuring hygiene practices as follows:
- Wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash hands during break times as well or use hand sanitiser.
- Wash their body, hair and clothes daily.
- Avoid touching their face.
- Refrain from spitting at all times.
- Cigarette butts and wipes used for disinfection purposes and used tissues should be placed in a rubbish bag and sealed to be discarded in a bin at the end of a trip.
For guidance, see WHO’s guidelines on Hand Hygiene.
Keep a sanitisation kit
Make sure to take extra precautions by keeping disinfectant and antiseptic products before heading off.
The sanitisation kit should consist of a hand sanitiser, disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes, packet of tissues and either dedicated gloves or disposable gloves for disinfecting and wiping down surfaces.
When on the road
Minimise coughs and sneezes
The driver should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and use a tissue. Cough or sneeze into their elbow if they don’t have a tissue.
Drivers should not be on the road picking up passengers if they are unwell.
Drivers are risking themselves and their passengers if they are sick and will create anxiety in their passengers resulting in a complaint against the driver.
Face mask use
The Australian Department of Health’s advice is that there is no need to wear a face mask if the person is well.
If a driver picks a passenger up, having a face mask on may lead the passenger to think that the driver is sick.
The New Zealand government’s health advice is similar: COVID-19: Use of face masks in the community.
Clean and disinfect regularly
- The driver is to keep a hand sanitiser in the car.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.
- Regularly clean and disinfect high touch surfaces including door handles, car seats and windows.
When picking up passengers
Maintain a social distance
Practice social distancing – shaking hands is not required and the driver should make sure to sanitise their hands whenever possible including when picking up and dropping off passengers.
If picking up only 1 or 2 passengers, the driver should ask the passengers to sit in the back of the car.
While waiting for passengers at an airport or other location (specific to Australia only), drivers should avoid physical contact and maintain more than 1.5 metres distance from other drivers when not in their vehicles.
All drivers should consider printing and displaying ‘Reduce the risk’ (AU) or the ‘Protect yourself and others against COVID-19’ (NZ) signage in their vehicles, for passengers to follow as to steps that they can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Picking up international travellers
When picking up a passenger from the international airport, the driver must make sure that the passenger follows Australian Government advice and wears a surgical mask if required. For example, if the passenger is returning from an ‘at-risk’ country the passenger has been advised to wear a surgical mask, if available.
If they refuse to do so, the driver should refuse the ride unless and until they do so.
Instructions to passengers
Ola’s expectation is that it’s the duty of drivers to maintain the health and safety of themselves and their passengers and provide a safe and quality service to Ola’s customers.
If a passenger has luggage, the driver is to open the boot but avoid touching the luggage and request the passenger handle their own luggage.
International travellers must take the following precautions:
- Avoid direct contact with the driver.
- Practice good cough/sneeze hygiene.
- Dispose of tissues outside of the car.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Ask them to sit in the back of the car.
If a driver forms an opinion that the passenger has not taken the above precautions and cannot provide a safe service, then the driver may choose to refuse or terminate the trip. Group transport of at-risk people, including older people, should be avoided where possible.
Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws may apply to fare refusal if a driver refuses the trip or cancels a trip based on the passenger’s nationality, disability or cultural background.
When the passenger shows signs of being unwell
If the passenger is showing signs or symptoms of being unwell such as coughing, sniffling or sneezing, the driver should ask the passenger to sit at the back of the car on the passenger side.
If the driver is very concerned (if say, in the conversation with the passenger, they tell the driver that they have just arrived from overseas), the driver must report to the Health Authorities and must lodge a complaint with Ola.
Making a complaint against the passenger to Ola allows us to investigate the matter and, where appropriate, suspend the passenger from the Ola platform for 14 days. Remember though that simply because a passenger has a cough or cold, it does not mean that the passenger has COVID-19.
Keeping the car clean
Employ standard cleaning practices
As part of good hygiene practice, the driver should employ a standard cleaning routine after dropping off the passenger and at the end of each shift.
If the passenger was spreading droplets (sneezing, coughing or vomiting), the driver must clean surfaces with appropriate disinfectant wipes so that the potential spread of infection can be minimised.
The driver should focus on high use areas such as dashboard, steering wheel, seat belts, window buttons and door handles. The driver should use either disposable gloves or dedicated gloves for cleaning and disinfecting only.
Return to work procedure
Any driver coming under notice to self isolate, must be taken off road immediately, to ensure the driver cannot undertake trips whilst driving for Ola during the self isolation period.
By ensuring drivers are fit to drive and vehicles are cleaned and sanitised, enables Ola to mitigate it’s risk of spreading the virus through community transmission, and helps drivers and passengers to stay safe.
- Identification of the need for self isolation: once a driver has been identified to self isolate, the driver’s account is suspended.
- If a driver has been asked to take a test for Covid-19, please report to the Ola Safety Team via email: email@example.com.
- The driver is encouraged to seek Driver counselling services to assist with this process.
- The driver must obtain a medical clearance before the driver’s account will be reactivated. The medical clearance must state the driver is ‘fit to return to work’ to be forwarded to the Ola Safety Team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The driver must have their car cleaned/sanitised prior to returning to work. Drivers are required to follow the cleaning guidelines set out in this video, or as recommended in this safe work australia fact sheet before their account can be reactivated.
- Ola will reactivate the driver’s account subject to Ola’s internal policies and procedures.
Health Authorities contact details for Australia and New Zealand
For the latest advice, information and resources, please see: www.health.gov.au.
Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If translating or interpreting services are required please call 131 450. The phone number of the relevant state or territory public health agency is available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts.
Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 via the COVIDSafe-app.
The process is a key element of the public health response to take measures to help stop the further spread of COVID-19 (such as getting tested or self-isolating).
If the person is concerned they may have symptoms (even mild), including fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell, they should consult with their general practitioner (GP), the 24-hour coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or use the Australian Government Department of Health – healthdirect Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker.
In some cases, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may present as symptoms.
Mental health resources
- Lifeline Australia 13 11 14: A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe: www.lifeline.org.au.
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- Mental health information and support: www.beyondblue.org.au.
For the latest advice, information and resources, please see: COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.
The Ministry of Health uses Contact tracing for COVID-19 to locate people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. In addition, the mandatory requirement for small passenger vehicle operators to use log books (recording the details of ride services) and to maintain the details of registered passengers, will assist with this process.
A person exhibiting any of the COVID-19 symptoms should get assessed as recommended, please see: Assessment and testing for COVID-19.
Mental health resources
- Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354
- Samaritans – 0800 726 666
- Chinese Lifeline – 0800 888 880 (for people who speak Mandarin or Cantonese).
If you have any questions or comments regarding anything in this document or if you require further information, you can email us at email@example.com.