Texas company admits temporary restroom problem; quickly responds

| 7/22/2008

When Ty Bailey was told the portable toilet was off limits in the staging area at Affiliated Foods in Amarillo, TX, he thought he was going to have to hold it for a long time. But after being made aware of the situation, the company responded quickly to resolve the situation.

Although the problem wasn’t fixed while Bailey was waiting to unload at Affiliated Foods, his complaint sparked procedural changes within just a few days.

On Thursday, July 17, Bailey arrived several hours early for his scheduled 1 a.m. appointment time at Affiliated Foods. An OOIDA member from Val Verde, CA, Bailey headed to the guardhouse to check in. Then he asked the guard where he could find the nearest restroom.

Bailey said the security guard told him the portable toilet in the staging area was off-limits and that the door was padlocked to keep drivers from using it. He said the guard cited misuse by truckers as being the reason the portable facility was locked.

Drew Thiess, loss control manager at Affiliated Foods, told Land Line on Tuesday, July 22, there was a “miscommunication” with the night security guard, but that security has since been instructed to allow drivers to use the portable toilet, which is stocked with Clorox wipes for hand sanitation purposes.

Thiess said the problem stemmed from a construction project that forced the company to move their gate and set up a temporary guard shack, which doesn’t have a restroom.

Their short-term solution during the construction, scheduled to be done by Thanksgiving, was to set up a portable facility near the guard shack.

“Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that the guards told the driver that, but I can tell you, it’s not what should have been said,” Thiess said.

Thiess said the nearest restroom, besides the one at the guard shack, is about a five-minute walk from the staging area.

“Once drivers back in the door, we have facilities, but the lack of a facility at the staging area is a problem,” he said. “I understand why drivers are upset, but we are going to have to come up with something because we don’t want drivers driving all over the lot looking for a bathroom, either.”

Bailey, who has hauled meat and produce for more than 14 years, said he has become more aware of food safety issues and potential contamination risks because of outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and other “bad bacteria” in recent years.

“There are huge contamination risks that exist if drivers have to relieve themselves outside, then handle food products,” he said.

Bailey said the guards did inform him there were restrooms available for drivers to use in the main building where they back in to the doors.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer