How Do You Comply With Welfare Laws?
Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1922, if you employ anyone (however short the period) you must ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, provide adequate and appropriate welfare facilities for them while they are at work. This means you are legally required to provide such facilities unless it is clearly unreasonable in terms of time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty. ‘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.
The Technicalities of Toilets
Welfare provisions, in particular toilets and washing facilities, can often be not fit for standard in terms of their cleanliness and the resources within them.
You have to provide adequate toilet and washing facilities for your employees. ‘Adequate’ means you have to provide:
- enough toilets and washbasins for those expected to use them – people should not have to queue for long periods to go to the toilet;
- where possible, separate facilities for men and women – failing that, rooms with lockable doors;
- clean facilities – to help achieve this, walls and floors should preferably be tiled (or covered in suitable waterproof material) to make them easier to clean;
- a supply of toilet paper and, for female employees, a means of disposing of sanitary dressings;
- facilities that are well lit and ventilated;
- facilities with hot and cold running water;
- enough soap or other washing agents;
- a basin large enough to wash hands and forearms if necessary;
- a means for drying hands, eg paper towels or a hot air dryer;
- showers where necessary, eg for particularly dirty work.
What Else Do I Need to Consider?
You must always consider the needs of those with disabilities. You must also ensure that the facilities are kept clean and in good condition and that there is always an adequate supply of toilet paper, soap etc. This means that you need to put in place an effective system to maintain them to a high standard, including regular cleaning.
If you are interested in the wider implications of employee’s welfare and wellbeing, why not take advantage of our offer of 10% OFF our Stress Awareness and Mental Health Awareness online training courses with the code ‘Welfare19’!
How many facilities do I need to provide?
Below shows the minimum number of toilets and washbasins that should be provided:
As the saying goes, a happy worker is a productive worker – numerous research studies, (see Toon W. Taris and Paul J.G. Schreurs’s 2009 study as an example) have shown that higher job satisfaction and psychological wellbeing can result in higher productivity levels. Therefore, ensuring sufficient welfare facilities are in place for your employees will not only make your employees happy but your company too!
Tieing into this, if you are interested in supporting the wider psychological wellbeing of your employees, for the month of November only, you can get 10% OFF our ‘Stress Awareness’ and ‘Mental Health Awareness’ Online Training Courses with the code ‘Welfare19’!
To read more about employee welfare, have a look at HSE’s guide!