Business groups representing transport workers have called on companies using their services to provide adequate hygiene facilities for drivers, stressing that the “health of the nation depends on it”.

The Freight Transport Association, Road Haulage Association and Unite are demanding that hot and cold running water be made available to all drivers and warehouse operatives delivering to or collecting from business premises.

In a joint statement, David Wells of the FTA, Richard Burnett of the RHA, and Adrian Jones of Unite reminded businesses of their legal obligations to employees and visitors.

“Government advice during this crisis is to wash hands thoroughly and often”, they said. “Since 2017 delivery drivers have had the legal right to use toilets and washrooms in commercial premises yet we are still receiving reports that access to these facilities is denied.

“Logistics is delivering vital supplies across the economy, but drivers are being denied the ability to comply with the government’s primary advice to avoid the spread of Covid-19. On behalf of such a key industry, we demand that those relying on logistics to keep their businesses operating comply with the legal requirements laid down by public health authorities.

“Drivers are the backbone of the UK’s supply chain and must be protected at all costs. It is vital that all sectors of the economy recognise this and ensure hygiene facilities are available where and whenever they are needed. The health and wellbeing of the nation depends on it.'

The organisations stressed that guidance from the Health and Safety Executive clearly states that drivers must have easy and safe access to toilet, washing and refreshment facilities.