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Top Tips for Drivers Delivering Chilled or Frozen Food

Blogs | 12th Sep 2023
Top Tips for Drivers Delivering Chilled or Frozen Food

Chilled and frozen foods make up a large proportion of food deliveries. For example, 10% of the UK’s retail food value comes from chilled food. That means many LGV/HGV drivers need to understand the ‘cold chain’ to work safely and prevent food or drink from being spoiled. 

Chilling and freezing foods helps to preserve them. Chilled foods must generally be stored between 0 and 5 degrees C. Frozen food is stored -9.5 degrees or lower. These temperatures help prevent food from ‘going off’ by preventing the growth of microorganisms. 

To maintain food at the right temperatures, the supply chain is often called the ‘cold chain’ or ‘cool chain’. This refers to the processes, people and equipment that keep the products at the correct low temperature from production or harvest, through delivery, to consumption. 

Refrigerated delivery vehicles form an important part of the cold chain. They were first introduced in the 1920s used by the ice cream industry. Now, there are millions of refrigerated trucks on roads worldwide.  

However, even with the right vehicle, there are still procedures that must be followed. These not only protect the food, but also help keep the driver safe, and prevent damage to the truck.  

Here are our 4 tips for transporting chilled and frozen foods that you may wish to share with your drivers. 

  1. Measure and record the temperature 

Chilled and frozen foods should never be subjected to inappropriate temperatures, or any temperature which could cause a risk to the customer. Drivers are responsible for checking the temperature.   

There may be a meter outside of the trailer, or an in-cab meter which provides a print-out of the temperature. The thermometer is located inside the refrigerated section of the truck. The temperature should be measured and recorded by drivers to ensure products are being transported safely.   

Employers should make sure that drivers receive the correct training on how to carry out these specific tasks. As well as training on any separation devices used. These may be to create different areas at different temperatures in one vehicle. 

Employers must also ensure that the instruments which record and monitor the temperature comply with European standards, and other relevant standards of use.  

  1. Check the vehicle 

Walk-around checks are an essential part of the LGV/HGV driver’s role. This remains the case when using a refrigerated vehicle. The vehicle and its components must be checked before each delivery – including the springs on the back door and the safety hatch. 

As always, drivers should also check that loads have been placed in the vehicle correctly and secured accordingly. This prevents damage to products. It also supports safety for the driver when it comes to unloading the vehicle.  

  1. Understand the risks 

All LGVs and HGVs carry risk factors. However, the low temperatures add different risks that drivers must be aware of. Driver complacency can lead to injury or even death. 

A worst-case scenario would be a driver becoming trapped inside the trailer or body of the truck. This could lead to hypothermia. It can kill in hours if the driver is unable to get out. 

There are also more commonplace risks. For example, frozen pallets or boxes may be slippery to handle. This could lead to injury. Similarly, if chilled products are damaged, this may cause wetness. Drivers must be mindful to prevent slips and falls. 

  1. Use correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

Drivers must always wear appropriate PPE. However, in a cold environment it has an even more important job. It reduces the risk of illnesses such as frostbite or pneumonia for the driver.  

The hand and fingers are also vulnerable to frostbite. Drivers will often be loading and unloading cold or frozen deliveries are at risk. Gloves are therefore essential for drivers handling cold goods or working in an extremely cold environment.  

Frostbite also affects other areas of the body too. In fact, it usually first affects exposed areas such as the ears, nose, and chin. Wearing a suitable hat or headwear helps prevent this by keeping drivers warm. 

It can also affect the toes. The correct footwear helps prevent this. It also helps drivers work safely in slippery environments. Condensation or ‘frosty’ metal surfaces can create slipping hazards. Particularly when delivering frozen goods. 

Improve the safety of your food and drink deliveries 

Ensuring the correct standards and processes with refrigerated vehicles is not the only way to support safe food and drink deliveries. There are other important areas for drivers to understand. For example, food safety regulations. Or different load types and how to handle them. Not to mention specific challenges related to multi-drop deliveries or an increase in urban driving. 

To help employers cover all these areas, members of the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium can access the Periodic Training module “Improving the Safety of Food and Drink Deliveries”. This includes four topics:  

  • Food Safety Regulations and Hygiene 
  • Chilled and Frozen 
  • Food and Drink Deliveries 
  • Manual Handling in Food and Drinks 

This is a great way for employers in the food and drink industry to make their team’s Driver CPC count. With a highly relevant topic and our range of delivery methods, it will also keep your drivers better engaged.  

Are you ready to maximise your investment in Driver CPC Periodic Training?  

Get a free 30-day demo of our Driver CPC training material portal to access this module now. 

Or get in touch with our friendly team today to discover more benefits of joining our Driver CPC Consortium.