As a long-distance lorry Driver, you could spend days or even weeks away from home. Although you can sleep in your cab quite comfortably, there are no washing or cooking facilities on board. You will need to rely on service stations, rest stops and laybys for taking your mandatory breaks.
Even as a short haul or final mile van Driver, you will still need comfort breaks and to grab a bite to eat, so easy access to these facilities is essential. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene came to the forefront of everyone’s minds. We are now more aware than ever before of the implications that poor hand washing facilities can have. Therefore, finding essential washing facilities and places to eat will be an important part of your working environment as a Driver. You may be unsure about applying for driving jobs because of concerns that you will not have access to basic hygiene facilities, so we’ve looked into what is being done to improve the situation.
Concerns about hygiene facilities
Typical concerns for those thinking about a driving career are finding clean facilities in accessible places, safe water supplies, places to eat healthy or substantial food so you don’t have to rely on snacking, and parking legally while accessing rest stops.
By law, businesses must provide Drivers safe and easy access to toilets and handwashing facilities on their site. Refusing Drivers access to welfare facilities is against the law.
Grant Shapps, current Secretary of State for Transport, acknowledged the significant contribution that delivery Drivers made to the nation and the economy during the pandemic. This increase in lorries on UK roads has highlighted the issues faced by Drivers, such as safe and secure parking and access to hygiene facilities.
The Department for Transport (DfT), in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), have produced a letter that reminds businesses of their obligations under the Workplace Regulations to provide suitable toilet and hand washing facilities to Drivers when visiting their premises.
Individual employers across the UK are also looking at ways of improving these conditions. Royal Mail are always looking to enhance the working conditions for their Drivers. For example, they work to tight schedules to ensure their Drivers sleep in their own beds every night.
The Pallet Network (TNP) serve free nutritious evening meals to all their truck Drivers at their distribution hub. There is also access to full toilet, shower, and kitchen facilities for the Drivers’ own use.
Since November 2017, all workers, including delivery Drivers, have had the legal right to use toilets and washing facilities in commercial premises when making deliveries.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused some issues for Drivers needing to access hygiene facilities, as many of the usual places Drivers used were closed during lockdowns, the number of deliveries increased significantly, and the need to wash hands became more frequent, to prevent catching or passing on the virus.
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations state that at sites where loading and/or unloading takes place, employers must take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of Drivers. It is a legal requirement for Drivers to be provided with safe and easy access to welfare facilities, such as toilets and handwashing facilities on site.
Where possible, businesses should provide a dedicated waiting area for Drivers whilst their vehicles are being loaded/unloaded. If there is no suitable waiting room or area, Drivers should wait in their cabs.
These are the legal requirements you should be aware of as a Driver, and if you find there are employers who aren’t compliant, then you should read our advice below on how to raise a complaint.
Raising concerns with your employer
What steps could Drivers take when they feel the facilities provided are not good enough?
First, try raising the issue in person with whoever is in charge, giving them the chance to rectify the situation. If this doesn’t work, then you should write an official grievance letter.
This letter should be to the point, factual and professional. Don’t forget to include your name and contact details, your employers’ details, the facts of your complaint with dates and incident details, and your evidence. Make sure your letter is addressed to the person who deals with work grievances and, if you have a solution to the issue, include this.
If you need further assistance, try contacting the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) helpline on 0300 123 1100. Acas provides free and confidential advice on employment rights, best practice and resolving workplace conflict.
If you are a registered Blue Arrow candidate, you can also contact your allocated Recruitment Consultant for guidance.
The urgent need for more Drivers across the UK and the involvement of both governing bodies and the government, should result in improved working conditions and easier access to hygiene facilities for all Drivers.
If you feel driving is the right career choice for you and, once you’ve passed all your tests and you get a driving job, this article lists the best rest stops as chosen by Drivers and this website lists all of the truck stops where you can access safe parking, somewhere to eat and use toilets and showers.
At Blue Arrow we make it our mission to ensure that all our candidates are treated with dignity and respect, and we would only place you with reputable clients that we trust. You can rest assured that with us we put your best interests first when offering you a driving job.
We’re aware that the provision of temporary staff in the UK has become increasingly commoditised, with people being treated as numbers rather than individuals. Blue Arrow promises to make a stand against this by ensuring that the people we place into work are given the opportunity to recognise their true potential and earn a living wage. We will do this by challenging low road activities wherever we find them and by working with clients that share our values. Our primary goal is to enhance the lives of everyone who touches Blue Arrow.
To apply for a role through Blue Arrow you need to register with us online. Go to our “how to” page to find out more.
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