Providing sanitary facilities for drivers while they are loading or unloading at contractors’ sites has become an issue over the past week for members of the haulage sector.
The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTA) had to intervene in a number of cases to reassure haulage operators and the companies they were servicing that there were easy solutions.
Aidan Flynn for the FTAI explains the situation: “Solutions that would take the focus off this issue and ensure we get back to concentrating on keeping the supply chain operational in a safe and organised manner. It is hard to believe that in 2020, no matter what the emergency is, that some employers are not carrying out effective risk assessments and putting in place appropriate control measures. The risk in this instance being the spread of COVID-19 by contractors and visitor using site sanitary facilities. A reasonably practicable control measure for site visitors, such as Drivers would be temporary Port-a-loos and or supervised and controlled access to site sanitary facilities. Both of which allow hand washing which is vital to mitigating the spread of this terrible virus. We need to protect people’s dignity at work, their basic rights and appreciate that if we don’t look after each other, there will be consequences.”
“The Taoiseach outlined that all in the supply chain are front-line workers and this includes Drivers of commercial vehicles. We as an industry and society need to recognise and appreciate the importance of our drivers and the businesses they work for. The profession has been too often beaten down and underappreciated, but we are all seeing and understanding the professionalism and the dedication of our haulage sector to ensuring our supermarket shelves are stocked and that vital medical equipment and supplies are transported safely throughout Europe. We all have families who have concerns when we go out to work at the moment, everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the anxiety caused by the simplest of issues such as ‘access to toilet facilities! Lets get these issues sorted and concentrate on the guidance from the HSE and Gov.ie . we are in this together, lets work together and we will beat this!”