Welfare Facilities Hire

Welfare facilities are a workers right. These include toilets and washbasins. Businesses with one or more staff must have these basic items.

There are circumstances when businesses may not have to offer toilets and washing facilities to staff. For example, issues such as physical difficulties, cost, trouble and time may prevent the installation of toilets.

But employers should not regard these provisos as potential excuses. They should make every reasonable effort to have toilets and washbasins on hand, even during a period of short-term work.

 

The Law and Welfare Facilities

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover the supply of toilets and washing facilities for staff. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a code of practice based on the law that explains the full requirements.

 

Adequate Facilities

The law states that toilets and washing facilities must be adequate. Because the word “adequate” is open to interpretation, the HSE clarifies what it means:

 

  • Employers should arrange for separate facilities for men and women. If this isn’t possible, toilets and washing facilities must have locks. These ensure privacy and security.

 

  • The facilities must be clean and easy to maintain. Walls and floors should be waterproof.

 

  • Toilets and washing facilities should have both cold and hot running water. They should have soap or a similar cleaning product. And a hot air dryer or paper towels should be available.

 

  • Washing basins must be a reasonable size. People should be able to wash hands and forearms in them.

 

  • The toilets should have toilet paper. In the female toilets, there should be a disposal point for sanitary dressings.

 

  • The facilities must have ventilation and light.

 

 

Number of Welfare Facilities

The law says that workers should not have to queue for long periods to use toilets and washing facilities. To clarify this point, the HSE quotes minimum toilet numbers per employees.

 

For women only or for mixed use, there should be 1 toilet and washbasin for 1-5 employees. The number of toilets and washbasins then rises according to the total staff. For example, 25-50 staff should have 3 toilets and 3 washbasins between them. And 76-100 employees should have 5 toilets and 5 washbasins.

 

For men only, there should be 1 toilet and 1 urinal for 1-15 employees. This rises to 2 toilets and 1 urinal for 16-30 staff, and 4 toilets and 4 urinals for 91-100 staff.

 

Disabled Welfare Facilities

Disabled workers require toilets and washing facilities that meet their needs. Large cubicles with supports and low hand basins are essential. Under the law, an employer must provide suitable facilities for disabled staff.

 

Welfare Facilities on Temporary Sites

Some work sites are temporary. This applies particularly to the building industry.

 

An employer must provide running water and flushing toilets if it’s reasonable to do so. An employer should not assume workers could use nearby public toilets.

 

If there’s no running water or plumbing, an employer should hire chemical toilets. In these circumstances, washing facilities can be water containers.

 

Drinking Water

Drinking water is a separate issue to the provision of toilets and washing facilities. An employer should give workers access to drinking water from a public source. Failing this, all workers must have access to a bottled water dispenser and cups.

 

There should always be enough water. Availability must take account of working temperatures and the type of work.

Employers don’t have to put up a sign for drinking water. But if workers are likely to use the water in washing facilities for drinking, an employer should mark it “not for drinking” and “drinking water” as appropriate.

 

Other Welfare Facilities

The law regarding the provision of toilets also covers other welfare facilities. Employers must arrange a seating area, for example, where workers can eat and drink during breaks. The area should be clean and have washing facilities to ensure hygiene. Workers should also be able to heat water and food.

 

Changing rooms are necessary for work that involves specialist clothing. The changing facilities should be private, have hook or pegs for hanging clothes, and have access to storage and washing. There should also be seats.

 

Needless to say, men and women should have separate changing facilities.