Bonded warehouses must provide visiting drivers with toilet access, says HSE

 

The HSE has clarified that bonded warehouses must provide visiting drivers with adequate toilet facilities after an HGV driver was told by staff at Expeditor International that she should use a portable toilet rather than staff toilets due to security concerns.

June Higgins, a driver for Knowsley-based container haulier JMD, told CM that on a recent delivery to Expeditors International in Coleshill, Birmingham staff told her that HSE had exempted the business from the need to provide toilet facilities for visiting drivers because it was a bonded warehouse. Higgins was told to use a portable toilet near the loading bay in future.

Higgins told CM: “I explained that the law for drivers has changed and that portable toilets do not meet the standards set out now by HSE.”

She added that her offer to show a staff member the regulations was declined.

“He refused and told me it was a bonded warehouse and if I didn’t have any other business there then I should leave immediately as they had visitors in the building.”

Higgins said Expeditors staff also told her that “HSE has been in touch with them and fully understand their situation and that a portable toilet is fine”.

Asked if bonded warehouses are outside of the HSE regulations on providing toilets for visiting drivers, an HSE spokeswoman told CM: “An employer is required to provide suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences in every workplace (with some exceptions such as operational ships, boats, hovercraft, aircraft, trains and road vehicles).  

“The Approved Code of Practice for the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 provides further detail about what constitutes suitable and sufficient (paragraphs 188-206).  

“Chemical toilets are only acceptable in remote workplaces without running water or a nearby sewer or on temporary worksites.”

Jeff Dickerman, vice president and associate general counsel at Expeditors International, told CM: “Expeditors fully complies with all applicable laws including workplace health, safety and welfare regulations.  

“We are committed to ensuring our visiting drivers have access to suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences in compliance with such legislation. This commitment includes allowing visiting drivers to use the washrooms in the reception area of our Birmingham facility.”

Dickerman added that since the facility is a bonded warehouse all visitors must sign in before they are allowed to use the toilets in the reception area.

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