Caught Short?

What do all drivers have in common? No one wants to be caught short and everyone needs a toilet break, especially when on a long journey. Yet for vocational drivers in the haulage or passenger sector, gaining assess to toilet facilities can be real daily struggle.

Having somewhere to freshen up on the road or when making deliveries is essential. It is a legal requirement that drivers must be offered access to toilets and washing facilities when making a delivery. Access cannot be denied and should a driver be refused access to use those facilities then they have the right to report this to the Health and Safety Executive. From a practical point of view, drivers could have in their possession guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive kept in their glovebox in order to be able to quote the regulations to anyone refusing them access.

The Health and Safety Regulations require:

  • The toilet should be conveniently located and available at times when drivers are visiting;
  • There should be adequate protection from the weather and be connected to a suitable drainage system with a means of flushing with water;
  • The facilities to be clean with toilet paper, soap, towels and a coat hook;
  • There should be separate facilities for women;
  • There is no minimum time limit that a driver should be onsite for before being granted access.

The relevant Regulations can be viewed here should you wish to consult them.

In an industry facing a major driver shortage, there is a clear need to encourage more people into the sector, and the use of facilities when on the road is just one aspect that might allay people’s fears about joining the industry. The logistics industry is the life blood of our country and both our personal and work lives depend on the delivery networks and access to goods that provides us with. A career in transport should be more considered on a mainstream basis for those providing careers advice to young people. It provides a regulated environment to work with a need for ongoing training and development and for all intents and purposes, is an attractive career for people looking for a fulfilling and varied job. The average age of a HGV driver in the UK is 55 years old and there are currently not enough leaner drivers coming through the system to replace them.

As we speak to Operators, Transport Managers and drivers throughout the country, we frequently hear of the concerns about the driver shortage and the lack of facilities available on the road as well as unsafe locations to stop. Service stations are charging drivers to park, providing a further barrier to professional drivers which in our view should not be present. Our roads are congested and drivers are required to comply with the driving hours regulations, making it important that they are able to take their rest (and toilet break).

As Transport solicitors we are regularly liaising with Regulators, including the Health and Safety Executive, and we would like to hear from those in the industry if there are any particular issues facing drivers when it comes to their safety and welfare. We would happily assist in bringing these to the attention of the Regulators and to lend the appropriate support. Please get in touch with a member of the team.