Nottinghamshire Police are supporting the launch of a new scheme which aims to improve car wash safety.
The scheme is working in partnership and has been developed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Police, the Health and Safety Executive, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Environment Agency, the Petrol Retailers Association and the charity Unseen.
The ethos of the scheme is to develop a compliant industry that is able to compete commercially on equal terms.
The Scheme will support car washes to operate compliantly and to drive up standards through the sharing of best practice.
Importantly, it will also be a positive force for improving the working conditions of employees through upholding workers’ rights and conditions.
The scheme allows consumers to make an informed but simple decision when choosing their car wash provider, recognising car washes that are compliant and ethical, and one that follows a Code of Practice set out and agreed by Government and regulators.
Once accredited operators will be able to display a logo endorsing that they looks after workers, trade legally, protect the environment and care their customers.
To obtain “Responsible Car Wash” status, the car wash operator agrees to adhere to the scheme’s Code of Practice at all times and to submit to an audit carried out by the Scheme administrator to verify compliance with the Code. Application to the scheme will be done online and by self-certification and requires the car wash operator to supply supporting documentation and photographic evidence of the site set up.
The Code covers all statutory and legal requirements pursuant to the operation of a car wash as well as examples of industry best practice.
In line with the ethos of the scheme, car wash operators will be given advice and guidance on best practice to drive up standards through continuous improvement.
Detective Inspector Harry Dick, Regional Coordinator in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, said: “We welcome this scheme, which is being piloted in the Midlands.
“We hope that by way of this voluntary code of practice both the business owners and the customers will benefit. It will drive up standards, through advice and guidance, as well as assist the public in making appropriate and ethical choices.”
Detective Superintendent Austin Fuller added: “The scheme is designed to protect vulnerable workers in the hundreds of car washes across Nottinghamshire, many of whom are at risk of modern day slavery.
“Unfortunately the people who become victims of modern slavery are some of the most vulnerable people in society and usually need outside intervention to break free from those who are exploiting them.
“Due to their vulnerabilities and the circumstances they are in they are often not in a position to challenge their employers or walk away.
“The victims are forced to work with no control over their own finances and in most case are too afraid to seek help.
The scheme was launched in October 2018 and is being initially run in the Midlands.