The British government has reminded businesses that providing drivers safe and easy access to facilities is the law. This means those who don’t follow the regulation break the law.
A letter issued this week by Baroness Vere, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, made it clear that preventing access is against the law, pointing to Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
In her letter, Baroness Vere reassures drivers, and reminds businesses of their obligations under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, to provide suitable toilet and handwashing facilities to drivers visiting their premises.
Businesses which make or receive deliveries should ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and handwashing facilities to support their health and wellbeing, whilst carrying out their important work which supports the economy. Preventing access is against the law” – she writes.
Regulations 20 and 21 states that suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities shall be provided at readily accessible places and that hot and cold running water and soap must be available to use.
“Whilst this obligation for business is not new, ensuring that hygiene facilities are made available to visiting drivers is especially important during the current COVID-19 crisis, to avoid unwanted public health implications and to help tackle the spread of the virus at a time when there are fewer locations operating with facilities that drivers can access. HSE guidance states that drivers must have access to welfare facilities located in the premises they visit as part of their work. The responsibility in law to provide access rests with the person in control of the premises” – she added.
Carriers and drivers have spoken out several times
As we have reported several times, drivers have raised their voices against the shameful routine many distribution centres practice. Drivers are often not allowed to use the facilities which is not only uncomfortable in many situations but also dangerous during the pandemic. The Road Haulage Association has called businesses for cooperation several times, especially during the lockdown. Though, the situation has not improved much.
“It’s making it really difficult for us lorry drivers. We’re out on the road, doing ten, twelve, thirteen hours a day, and we’re not able to use toilets anywhere. It’s just getting worse” – said lorry driver Jonathan George in the BBC Morning show last week.
Photo: Circe Denyer/ Public Domain Pictures