Thew Arnott reminded of obligations by HSE after refusing to grant visiting driver access to a toilet
A company that refused a visiting truck driver access to its toilet facilities has been rapped over the knuckles and forced to provide adequate facilities after the driver took her complaint to the HSE.
June Higgins, a driver for Knowsley-based container haulier JMD, was forced to go to the toilet in a bucket in her cab after Cheshire food ingredient firm Thew Arnott ignored her pleas to use the firm’s toilet facilities while she was delivering goods to the company over three hours.
Higgins took her complaint to the HSE last month. The HSE is running a campaign to raise awareness of the rights of visiting drivers to have access to toilet facilities on-site.
The campaign was launched in November last year, after the HSE updated its regulations, making clear that companies must, rather than should, provide adequate welfare facilities for visiting drivers.
In an email to Higgins, HSE concerns and advice team member Wendy Offley said: “I can confirm that the HSE has been in touch with the company and reminded it of its health and safety responsibilities in relation to the areas of concern you raised.
“There is now a system in place for delivery drivers to be able to use the welfare facilities at the Thew Arnott site.
“Your concern has been recorded on the HSE’s record for the company, and will be used as intelligence when planning future interaction with the company.”
Higgins welcomed the HSE’s action. She told CM: “I was there for three hours and although the warehouse staff were very polite they said it was a management policy, and that they didn’t dare let me use the staff toilets.
“At first I felt embarrassed at having to even ask, then when I was refused I felt humiliated and quite annoyed – although not with the warehouse staff as they were being sympathetic and it was out of their control. There was nothing else for it. I had to go back to my cab, draw the curtains and use a bucket to pee in.”
She added: “Being treated in this way is degrading and unacceptable in this day and age, and what is annoying is that we are in the right. It is these companies that are contravening health and safety regulations.”
A spokesman for Thew Arnott told CM: “We are a 150-year-old family firm with the highest standards of service.
“We were not aware of the changes to HSE regulations on the provision of toilet facilities for visiting drivers.
“Now we have been made aware of those changes, we have immediately made full toilet facilities available for drivers delivering to site.”
Irizar prepares to launch its first electric truck, the IE
Coach and bus manufacturer Irizar is entering the HGV market with its battery-electric Ie truck, a 6x2 rigid that can be specified with a CNG range extender.
The Ie truck will be built at the Irizar e-mobility factory in Aduna, Spain. It will be offered in right-hand-drive form if demand dictates.
Irizar is initially targeting municipal uses, but the range-extended version will suit longer distance work, it said.
The Ie truck has single-step entry via a bus-style powered in-swinging door, and cross-cab access is helped by twin tip-up passenger seats. Irizar claimed the Ie truck has a lower step height than any of its competitors.
Batteries, which are supplied in a modular format of 75kW/h increments, do not intrude on the area above the chassis, and Irizar said the 26-tonner can carry a combined body and payload of 18-tonnes.
The electric driveline is shared with Irizar’s bus range. It uses a motor supplied by Irizar Group subsidiary Alconza, and the batteries are created at the Aduna factory from individual Toshiba-supplied cells.
The range extender, where specified, is an Iveco Cursor 8 CNG engine. Plug-in charging is fitted to Irizar’s prototype and the manufacturer may also offer pantograph-based opportunity charging.
Production is scheduled to start in 2019.