World Toilet Day 2023: The industry is still failing staff

2023-11-19 -
A toilet in front of a grey tiled wall

On World Toilet Day, Sunday 19 November we continue our calls for employers to provide appropriate hygiene facilities for rail workers.

The lack of access to safe, clean, and appropriate toilet facilities, and the lack of opportunity for workers to access them during their working day, is a human rights issue, an occupational health and safety issue, an equality issue, and a public health issue.

The Office of Rail & Road's (ORR) 2022-23 Annual Report of Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways agrees with us, "It is unacceptable that the industry fails to provide adequate toilet facilities for staff and indeed this is a legal requirement" We are glad that the industry is listening to our concerns and the ORR acknowledges that staff are being failed by a lack of adequate toilet facilities. We expect employers to take action to meet their obligations to provide appropriate facilities to our members and to ensure that appropriate personal need breaks are rostered in to allow them to actually use the facilities. 

A photograph of a row of toilet cubicles and sinks which has text over the top: "If we are delayed, they often bell us out before I've even pulled up to the platform. It infuriates me. I will still go to the loo even if it causes a delay. I've had jokes from station staff about the size of my bladder and it used to bother me but these days I just don't care" - female long-distance driver

In 2021 we published our report 'Health Implications of not having access to toilets at work' since then and following our lobbying, we have seen some progress with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) forming a steering group to look at industry-wide solutions, they subsequently produced 'Guidance on the Provision of Toilet Facilities on Great Britain’s Railways' which the ORR recommended to be used by all duty holders in their 2021-2022 annual health and safety report and now the ORR's 2022-23 report highlights the continued failure of industry.  

We hope that next November we can acknowledge an industry that is no longer failing its staff.