Toilets+ answers the industry’s common queries about providing welfare facilities on-site.
The changed circumstances under which the trades are obliged to work has brought the issue of site welfare into sharp focus. Even before Covid-19 was among us, HSE rules were, of course, in place, but many builders might be unaware of when, what and how many welfare facilities to have for the number of workers on-site. Therefore, we’ve answered the most common questions you may have in orderto stick to the HSE’s guidelines.
When are contractors obliged to provide welfare facilities on-site?
Welfare facilities are required to be set up and functioning as soon as employees are expected to start working on the project. Inevitably, without successfully operating facilities, on-site projects cannot begin, and choosing to do so without the necessary facilities will result in severe consequences.
Which welfare facilities are compulsory for on-site work?
For every working environment, the Health and Safety Executive states that “‘Welfare facilities’ are those that are necessary for the well-being of your employees, such as washing, toilet, rest and changing facilities, and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks.”
Construction and on-site work are no different, apart from a few specifics. For instance, breakout spaces for eating and taking a break should be adequately warmed due to employees predominantly working outside.
Further information about compulsory welfare facilities:
For on-site work, either mains toilets or chemical toilets and hot water are the best options to comply with HSE’s standards. On top of this, these toilets cover the washing facilities requirements as long as clean cold and hot water, soap, towels, ventilation and lighting are readily available. In order for these sanitary facilities to work for all employees, it is important to ensure either mixed use or separate men’s and women’s toilets are available.
If any of your workers require disabled access toilets, this should also be considered when setting up the mandatory welfare facilities set out by the Health and Safety Executive.
To know how many toilets are legally required on-site, contractors will need to review the number of people at work as to how many toilets they need. For example, if you’re hiring mixed use toilets, one toilet will be required for anywhere between 1-5 workers, whereas for men only toilets, one toilet will be required for every 15 workers. To work out all the correct numbers, visit the HSE website.
- Drinking water
As declared by Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP): “Drinking water must be provided or made available at readily accessible and suitable places.” Whether this comes in the form of a drinking water fountain, cold water dispenser or a fridge stocked with water bottles. Either way, as long as there’s enough for every employee, it’s clean, and cups are provided if there is no jet available, you can rest assure that you’re complying to the set regulations for this.
- Changing rooms and lockers
This is an important necessity for on-site workers especially. With site employees working with and around materials such as dust, dirt, concrete, brick and stone on a daily basis, being able to store personal items and valuables somewhere safe, as well as change back into them at the end of the day in private is crucial.
- Designated breakout spaces
Notably, workers need a designated space for relaxation and rest that is clean to provide employees with a space to eat and drink on their break. The provisions for these areas include supplying enough tables and seats for the number of workers on-site, facilities to prepare and eat food and boil water, and ventilation in the summer and heating in the winter.
What will happen if I don’t execute these obligations?
Heed our warning that failure to comply with welfare regulations on-site can have severe consequences for companies and the individuals who are breaching health and safety standards. These consequences include fines, imprisonment and disqualification.
Rightly so, all contractors and employers should adhere to these guidelines, not only to avoid being penalised by the HSE governing body but because all employees should be protected and well-looked after whilst at work.
Should you have any further questions such as what the requirements are for remote working, temporary worksites, and others of the like, read through this PDF at https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg293.pdf
Toilets+ have been trusted providers of portable toilet hire to the construction industry for over 25 years. It’s needless to say, they have a thorough understanding of when, what and how many welfare facilities a site needs to be in line with the Health and Safety Executive’s standards.
For more information on TOILETS+ visit https://www.toilets.co.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiJan36-J7QIVitwYCh1jUwvVEAAYASAAEgKRIfD_BwE