TOILET breaks. Not the usual topic of conversation for Business Vans but we promise there is a connection as commercial drivers have now won the right to spend a penny.
Delivery drivers have traditionally faced a personal dilemma when it comes to toilet breaks. You could ask a customer, sneak behind the shrubbery, or deviate from your route to try and find a toilet. Now a change in the regulations is set to relieve the pressure (sorry) giving commercial delivery drivers access to toilet facilities.
Unite, the UK’s largest union, has won a long–running campaign for the right of delivery drivers to use an employers’ toilets while conducting deliveries. The result is that from this week employers in control of non-domestic premises are obliged to allow people who are not their employees but use their premises to access toilets and washing facilities.
Unite’s campaign to end the problem of drivers having to go to the toilet behind bushes, or having to continually ‘hold on’ due to being denied access to toilet facilities, has lead to the change. And rightly so.
Many businesses will wonder why new regulations were necessary as they were already willing to let delivery drivers use their facilities. Allowing delivery drivers guaranteed access to toilet facilities should be a matter of common courtesy. Unfortunately not all are equally amenable with regards to their amenities.
Apart from the obvious detriment to the drivers concentration when in desperate need of a toilet – anyone who has tried to drive after too many cups of coffee will understand – there are also health implications. Having to continually cross your legs can lead to infections, damage to the bladder and the bowel, and can cause toxins to build up in the body.
In the case of the growing number of women drivers there are additional reasons for having access to toilets, as well as the risk of developing infections if they are denied such access.
The requirement on businesses to allow access to toilets and washing facilities also means that drivers can ensure that their hands are clean and hygienic. This is particularly important for drivers making food deliveries.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones, said:
“This change in the application of the regulations is highly significant as it restores the dignity of drivers by giving them the right to use an employer’s toilet and hand washing facilities.”
The Union also had a word of warning to employers who continue to refuse delivery drivers access to toilet facilities. They are prepared to name and shame companies that deny drivers the right to spend a penny. That’s not a list any business wants to appear on.