Sanitization: the challenge for vehicles amidst uncertainties and new solutions

  Car Wash, NEWS & INTERVIEWS

The Covid 19 emergency has seen sanitization of environments become a priority to prevent the virus spreading. It was introduced by law and became mandatory for shared work and business contexts. Against this background, as also extended to included vehicles which very often become full-scale workplaces – we need only mention transport of goods or vehicles used to provide maintenance services – or else are used for leisure involving leasing contracts between suppliers and customers: such as car hire or car sharing

Yet how can we face this challenge… which very often is made all the more difficult because of the typical mobility of such vehicles?
This is the question that the webinar “The sanitization of vehicles in the Covid 19 post-emergency period” sought to answer. It was organized on 11 June by Mirumir in collaboration with Veronafiere as part of the events in the run-up to the Oil&nonOil event (Verona, 21-23 October 2020).

 

by DEBORAH APPOLLONI

 

The health emergency and full lockdown generated different responses in different contexts: they ranged from “do it yourself” vehicle sanitization kits supplied to drivers to the use of specific devices to sanitize passenger compartments, as well as – for example – cold cells in trucks. However, there was some uncertainty and confusion among operators in the initial weeks: unclear terminology, non-linear procedures and the lack of clarity as regards the products to be used are the obstacles encountered and not yet entirely resolved.

“The topic is covered by Italian Legislative Decree no. 81/2008 (Consolidated Occupational Safety and Health Law),” said Barbara Michini, lawyer of the Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners Law Firm during the webinar, “and reference must also be made to the Decree dated 17 May which incorporated safety at work protocols and the more specific Decree comprising guidelines for the transport and logistics sector. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health Circular dated 22 May should also be considered as a source of regulatory information. In short, this means that any shortcomings in the sanitization of vehicles used to for work-related purposes or for mixed commercial use will bring about well-defined administrative penalties, not to mention criminal liability arising from the risk of contagion and claims for compensation in terms of civil liability.”

One of the categories most affected by this challenge is the hire/rental sector. “Contrary to what one might think,” said Giuseppe Benincasa, President of Aniasa, the association representing the major car hire/rental and car sharing companies in Italy, “the sanitization problem during the lockdown period also affected long-term rental which was in high demand in the agro-food sector to meet home delivery requests. In the short term, individual companies applied solutions that were included in their marketing strategies. The car-sharing question is different, since continuous changes of users makes sanitization impossible for companies providing this kind of service. We have mediated with councils in several large cities and have envisaged in Rome and Milan the responsibility of users who must wear gloves and masks on board and also clean the most exposed points.”

Large fleets have also considered several sanitization solutions. “Initially, we experienced a great deal of uncertainty,” said Gianfranco Martorelli, President of the Top Thousand Observatory and Fleet Mobility Manager at WIND3, “in particular as regards the products to be used: ozone or hydroalcohol-based products? After Ministry Circular was issued, we opted for a kit with hydroalcoholic solutions and disposable cloths that employees must use before taking charge of vehicles.”

Similar solutions were adopted in the road haulage sector, which was in the forefront during the health emergency and lockdown periods. “For many companies, sanitization does not terminate simply with the vehicles,” said Stefano Quarena, Member of the Board of Alis, the association representing various players in the supply chain, “there is also a need to sanitize warehouses, offices and workshops. Our association have drafted procedures and rules for our members.”

The car wash world has also had to face the major issue of sanitization both as regards plant as such and the service offered to customers. “We worked from the outset on sanitization guidelines,” commented Marco Costamagna, President of Federlavaggi, “which have the merit of providing information to our members as regards procedures, whereas we did not discuss the merits of products and equipment, leaving the market free to choose.”

There is hope for greater clarity as regards procedures and products alike in the world represented by Assolavaggisti. “Our plant systems,” said President Giuseppe Sperduto, “comply with the provisions of law but sector needs support, especially during this restart period.”

A highly innovative patent for a vehicle and air conditioning system sanitization machine was presented by Domenico Fata, sales manager at Italia Service Srl, a company active for more than 30 years in the washing and sanitizing sector.

The webinar was concluded by Luciano Rizzi, Agriexpo & Technology Exhibition Manager at Veronafiere, who pointed out that “Oil&nonOil is scheduled in October and will adopt all the precautionary measures implemented by the exhibition centre to ensure that the event is safe for exhibitors, buyers and visitors.”