June Higgins, a driver for Knowsley-based container haulier JMD, was forced to go to the toilet in a bucket in her cab after Cheshire food ingredient firm Thew Arnott ignored her pleas to use the firm’s toilet facilities while she was delivering goods to the company over three hours.
Higgins took her complaint to the HSE last month. The HSE is running a campaign to raise awareness of the rights of visiting drivers to have access to toilet facilities on-site.
The campaign was launched in November last year, after the HSE updated its regulations, making clear that companies must, rather than should, provide adequate welfare facilities for visiting drivers.
In an email to Higgins, HSE concerns and advice team member Wendy Offley said: “I can confirm that the HSE has been in touch with the company and reminded it of its health and safety responsibilities in relation to the areas of concern you raised.
“There is now a system in place for delivery drivers to be able to use the welfare facilities at the Thew Arnott site.
“Your concern has been recorded on the HSE’s record for the company, and will be used as intelligence when planning future interaction with the company.”
Higgins welcomed the HSE’s action. She told CM: “I was there for three hours and although the warehouse staff were very polite they said it was a management policy, and that they didn’t dare let me use the staff toilets.
“At first I felt embarrassed at having to even ask, then when I was refused I felt humiliated and quite annoyed – although not with the warehouse staff as they were being sympathetic and it was out of their control. There was nothing else for it. I had to go back to my cab, draw the curtains and use a bucket to pee in.”
She added: “Being treated in this way is degrading and unacceptable in this day and age, and what is annoying is that we are in the right. It is these companies that are contravening health and safety regulations.”
A spokesman for Thew Arnott told CM: “We are a 150-year-old family firm with the highest standards of service.
“We were not aware of the changes to HSE regulations on the provision of toilet facilities for visiting drivers.
“Now we have been made aware of those changes, we have immediately made full toilet facilities available for drivers delivering to site.”
- Has one of your HGV drivers been refused toilet access when delivering? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.