Lorry driv­ers barred from de­pot loos

The Guardian - - Nnaatitoio­nnaall Coronaviru­s - Ben Quinn and Damien Gayle

Lorry driv­ers main­tain­ing vi­tal sup­plies are be­ing de­nied ac­cess to toi­let and hand­wash­ing fa­cil­i­ties at hubs ser­vic­ing ma­jor UK re­tail­ers in­clud­ing Tesco and Boots, it is claimed.

A let­ter from Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) stress­ing the need to al­low ac­cess to fa­cil­i­ties is be­ing cir­cu­lated to driv­ers by the Road Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion (RHA) to driv­ers who can pro­duce it when they are de­nied the right to use washrooms. The RHA, which rep­re­sents the in­dus­try, said the PHE was “ap­palled” when it raised the mat­ter fol­low­ing nu­mer­ous com­plaints.

“This be­hav­iour from dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres is sim­ply not ac­cept­able. Pre­vent­ing driv­ers from us­ing toi­lets is il­le­gal,” said the RHA’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Rod McKen­zie.

All hauliers are be­ing urged to carry a copy of the let­ter, which says “there is no health rea­son to deny ac­cess to toi­let fa­cil­i­ties to freight driv­ers”.

A Boots spokesper­son said the com­pany had al­ways asked ware­house de­liv­ery driv­ers to wait in des­ig­nated wait­ing ar­eas rather than their cabs, while their de­liv­er­ies are be­ing un­loaded for health and safety rea­sons.

But it added: “We are cur­rently ex­plor­ing ad­di­tional lo­ca­tions on site for our driv­ers to wait to al­low for the rec­om­mended so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines and are tak­ing ex­tra mea­sures to en­sure the clean­li­ness and hy­giene within the ware­house and wait­ing ar­eas.”

Tesco said last night: “We take the health and safety of our col­leagues ex­tremely se­ri­ously and have worked with our sup­pli­ers to put in place new guide­lines for dis­tri­bu­tion driv­ers which take ef­fect this evening.”

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