The RHA and campaigning group Truckers Toilets UK (TTUK) have been working together to make real progress in improving toilet facilities for lorry drivers, on the road network and also at distribution centres.
We have been very impressed by the knowledge and professionalism of TTUK founder Gillian Kemp. We have helped her to make the right contacts at the Department for Transport, where she has helped to put sensible minimum standards firmly on the agenda. TTUK was founded by Kemp several years ago to improve toilet provision for lorry drivers in the UK.
Kemp had no connection with the transport industry – but she did know about the trade in providing toilets and washrooms, through the British Toilet Association (BTA).
Kemp has worked with a number of charities, and is a founder director of a medical equipment manufacturing company. We were delighted she was able to attend the RHA Annual Lunch this year, and make contact with senior officials at the DfT. Her subsequent influence on the issue of minimum standards was evident at transport minister John Hayes’ round table on lorry parking in December, which she and the RHA attended.
Kemp has given evidence on the effects of public toilet closures to the Health & Social Care Committee at the Welsh Assembly, and has chaired a joint venture with Hertfordshire Constabulary to revise a booklet on reducing vandalism in public toilets on behalf of the BTA.
To many members and their drivers, the problem will be well known. Too often distribution centres also refuse access to toilet facilities on their sites for visiting drivers – an unacceptable practice that we are also committed to eradicate.
Why are we working with TTUK?
It should be obvious that drivers must have proper facilities, for themselves, so that the industry can retain a healthy, safe workforce.
There are good medical reasons, too. Lack of toilets discourages drinking, and if you don’t drink enough you can easily become dehydrated. Published research has found that drivers who only had 25 ml of water per hour (around five sips) made twice the amount of mistakes compared to drivers who had stayed hydrated throughout their journey; see HERE.
The refusal by delivery points to allow visiting drivers to use their facilities is something that we in the industry need to deal with. There is a legal requirement to provide these facilities. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 are very clear. Para 127 a guide to workplace safety: “When deliveries and collections are made, loading and unloading areas should… have a safe area for drivers to wait that allows them to rest between driving shifts, especially if they may be waiting for several hours, with easy and safe access to toilet, washing and refreshment facilities and shelter in case of bad weather”. Further advice is available free HERE.
The RHA is urging the Health and Safety Executive to tighten guidance on providing facilities to visiting drivers. We hope to see more from the HSE in due course. It is unspeakable that in the 21 st century we have to report on these issues, but over the coming months we will be working with Kemp and TTUK with a media campaign and articles in Roadway , it is also our intention to carry out a geomapping exercise to show drivers where the best facilities are in the UK. All this is in the context of driver welfare, in which the RHA will be becoming more active than it has been in the past.