Welcome Break and Extra MSA Services are implementing robust hygiene practices in order to protect drivers from coronavirus (COVID-19).
Welcome Break has reassured drivers and visitors that it is applying precautionary measures within its service stations across the UK to protect people during the coronavirus outbreak.
A spokesperson at Welcome Break, said: “Many of our colleagues are not coming to work at our sites, as per official guidance, and we are following all official advice and taking every precaution to look after and protect our colleagues and customers.
“We have robust cleaning processes in all areas and touch points including toilets and showers, we are maintaining social distancing at all sites, and are providing enhanced hygiene protocols with all necessary sanitising products.”
Extra MSA also said it is putting measures in place to ensure the safety of its customers.
Jerry Storer, senior operations executive at Extra MSA, said: “We continue to regularly review our ongoing maintenance of intensified high standards of cleaning and other appropriate hygiene regimes, both mandatory and as recommended on a precautionary basis.”
In line with Government guidance, Both Welcome Break and Extra MSA service stations remain open to provide hauliers access to roadside facilities, including welfare facilities, as they continue transporting essential items to supermarkets and the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said that all drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work.
A spokesperson at Welcome Break, said: “In line with guidance from the Department for Transport and wider Government, all of our Welcome Break sites currently remain open as we provide an essential service for critical drivers - delivery and HGV drivers and key workers - who need to be on the road in the current crisis and require a safe place to stop and get refreshments and fuel.
“We are currently operating a reduced service which includes Waitrose, selected WHSmith’s and our petrol forecourts. All hot food outlets such as Burger King and KFC are closed.”
Storer said: “To support the safe and efficient operation of the Strategic Road Network, all Extra ‘umbrella branded’ Service Areas, inclusive of the fuel filling stations and amenity buildings remain open. This is in accordance with consultations as held over the last few days with Highways England.
“Each amenity building has a Marks and Spencer Simply Food available, but with the central and other seating areas within each amenity building currently being temporarily closed. However, all customer WC and washroom/shower facilities remain open, together with all parking areas for each category of vehicle at all Extra ‘Umbrella branded’ Service Areas.”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA), Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Unite has stressed that businesses must stick to hygiene laws to keep logistics safe and ensure adequate hygiene facilities, including hot and cold running water, are available to all drivers or warehouse operatives delivering to, or collecting from business premises.
In a joint statement, David Wells at the FTA, and Richard Burnett at RHA, and Adrian Jones at UNITE reinforced the legal obligations of businesses to employees and visitors, urging them to ensure that the facilities on offer to visiting workers comply with the legal requirements.
They said: “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 FTA encourages service stations and its visitors to follow Government guidance provided online. The FTA says that in order to best protect themselves and all individuals using the facilities, they should be reminded to:
- Wash their hands for 20 seconds, more frequently than usual, each day
- Catch coughs and sneezes in tissues or cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve (not hands), throw the tissue away and wash their hands immediately
- Use hand sanitizer gel in addition to soap and water or on its own if soap and water are not available
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) advises that drivers refueling should use disposable or other gloves and wash hands immediately after refueling or if possible, use hand sanitizer.
The key guidance for service stations online includes:
- Hard surfaces that are touched frequently (for example, door handles) should be cleaned more frequently
- Staff should wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning
- Regular cleaning of facilities such as showers and toilets should be implemented; normal cleaning frequencies will need to be increased depending on how often the facilities are used
- Staff should wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds
- In the event of any individuals showing symptoms of coronavirus – such as a new, continuous cough or a high temperature – they should not be allowed to use the facilities and should be referred to the advice on the NHS website