Last reviewed 26 November 2020

A survey by a trade union has found that 70% of professional drivers in the UK are routinely being denied access to toilets during working hours and that the initial Covid lockdown earlier this year made the situation even worse.

The results of the survey, based on more than 6000 drivers (mostly of buses or lorries), were released recently by the union Unite.

The drivers reported the following.

  • During their normal working day, 7 out of 10 do not have adequate access to toilets and washing facilities.

  • During the lockdown, fewer than 1 in 5 drivers (20%) reported that they continued to have adequate access to toilet and washing facilities at all times.

  • Where drivers reported that they did not have access to adequate toilet and washing facilities, just 6% reported that this always occurred, while well over a third (39%) reported this was a frequent occurrence. A further 35% recorded this was an occasional occurrence.

The survey also found that several drivers reported developing Covid-type illnesses they attribute to being unable to wash their hands as the Government directed.

Others said that a lack of access to toilets has worsened longstanding conditions, such as diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome, or led to illnesses such as bladder infections.

Women drivers reported that a lack of toilet access during their period was particularly humiliating and damaged their health.

Commercial premises have a legal duty to provide access to toilets and washing facilities to drivers making deliveries or collections.

Commenting on the issue, Diana Holland, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary, said, “It is completely unacceptable that tens of thousands of workers are being routinely denied the basic right to have access to toilets in the 21st century.”