Last reviewed 21 November 2019

Recent research by a union has concluded that “routine” denial of access to toilets for workers in the transport sector is creating health issues and, in some cases, even forcing workers to leave their jobs.

The research was based on a survey of nearly 5000 bus drivers, who are members of the trade union Unite, which found that 83% of them are “not supplied with a list of toilet facilities or a map should the need arise on routes”.

Unite says the lack of accessible toilet facilities on a bus route is a particularly important issue for bus drivers as shifts are regularly five and half hours long before they have a break from driving.

In addition, the union says, forcing drivers to wait that long before using a toilet can cause serious health issues and can also result in them becoming distracted and losing concentration while driving.

A separate survey of over 4000 lorry drivers also identified a major issue with a lack of access to toilets. The survey asked the question; “When sleeping at a lay-by, are you able to easily access toilet and washroom facilities?” and 89% of respondents said they “rarely” or “never” had access to such facilities.

Unite says lorry drivers are regularly forced to sleep in lay-bys in order to comply with driving regulations due to the chronic lack of truck stops.

Diana Holland, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary, said, “Transport workers the length and breadth of the UK are being denied toilet dignity on a daily basis …

“The lack of access to toilets is simply intolerable and can and does result in our members developing severe health problems and in some cases being forced to quit their jobs due to medical conditions …

“Employers have a clear legal duty to provide adequate toilets for their workers and Unite will be ensuring that those duties are met.”