Dnata and Swissport criticised over toilet provision for HGV drivers delivering to Heathrow

Carol Millett
June 19, 2018


HGV drivers and Unite the union are calling for the HSE to investigate the lack of toilet facilities for visiting drivers at the Heathrow Airport sites of Dnata and Swissport.

Their complaints centre on the Dnata Village, Dnata Virgin and Dnata Southpoint sites, and Swissport’s cargo handling areas at Shoreham Road West and Horton Road. None of the five depots provide dedicated toilets for visiting drivers on site. 

Driver access to staff toilets at the sites is refused on the grounds of security, with drivers directed to walk 20 minutes to toilets on Shoreham Road.

One driver told CM that this was unacceptable. He said: “No office worker would be put through that. There is plenty of room on these sites to build proper facilities for drivers that wouldn’t require them to enter the secure areas.”

“It is disgusting. These are multimillion pound companies that have thousands of drivers visiting every year and yet don’t even supply a toilet for them. It is inhumane to be forced to sit and wait with no access to relieve yourself,” the driver added.

Drivers complain that the walk to the Shoreham Road toilets is lengthy and hazardous. One told CM: “It’s a 20-minute walk to the Shoreham Road toilets from Swissport’s site and 20 minutes back, and with the amount of lorries flying past, it could be the last walk you’ll ever take.”

He called on both cargo handling firms to follow DB Schenker’s example, which has dedicated driver toilets on its Heathrow site.

Asked if Swissport planned to provide on-site toilet facilities for visiting drivers, a spokesman told CM: “In line with current guidance, toilet facilities for visiting drivers at Heathrow are provided at the Shoreham Road facility, accessible via a walkway from the cargo warehouse, and are maintained by the airport and service providers.

“Due to security regulations, Swissport’s cargo building must be treated as a restricted area, which limits any access to the building to fully authorised personnel. We will continue to consult with the HSE to ensure our facilities are fully compliant with any changing regulations.”

A Dnata spokesman told CM: “All of Dnata’s facilities comply with HSE guidelines to provide access to toilet facilities for our customers’ drivers. Dnata will not withhold access to such facilities should drivers on official business make their need known to the shift or station managers. We are not aware of any such complaints from drivers.”

Dnata declined to comment further when provided with evidence that visiting drivers are continuing to be barred from Dnata’s toilet facilities by its staff.

Several drivers are taking their grievances to the HSE through its formal complaint procedure. Unite said it will also be asking the HSE to investigate both companies’ policies on welfare provision.

Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said: “It appears these two companies are ignorant of the HSE’s change in regulations that allows visiting delivery drivers to use toilet and washing facilities at their sites.

“We will be taking up this disgraceful state of affairs with the HSE as a matter of urgency as this situation is intolerable in a modern working environment in 2018. 

“We will also be making representations to the companies to make them aware of the changes to the regulations that came into force at the end of last year as a result of a long-running campaign waged by Unite.

“The excuse of security concerns being proffered for denying visiting drivers the toilet is bizarre, as the lorries are being allowed on-site in the first place.”

You can report blocked access at sites to the HSE at Reporting a workplace health and safety problem.

Image: PA 


About the Author


Carol Millett

Carol Millett is an award-winning freelance journalist with over 30 years’ of experience writing across a broad range of sectors, including road transport, construction and civil engineering, project management, private finance, technology, HR, and travel and tourism. She is currently a regular contributor to a variety of DVV Media titles including Motor Transport Magazine, Commercial Motor and Transport News.

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