Despite workers having a right to “welfare facilities” including toilets and washbasins, we’re constantly surprised by the amount of businesses that still fail to provide adequate toilet facilities for workers.
There are of course a great number of circumstances when a business doesn’t have to provide toilet or wash facilities for example, problems such as physical difficulties, cost and even time may prevent the installation of toilets however, these provisos shouldn’t be seen as an excuse. An employer should of course make every effort to provide suitable toilet and wash facilities wherever and whenever possible. This should even be the case during a period of short-term work too.
When it comes to the law, The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 aka HSE regs, cover the subject of toilets and washing facilities for employees. The HSE has a code of practice that’s based on the law and explains everything in full including the requirements of employers.
So what exactly are adequate facilities? The law states that toilets and washing facilities need to be adequate. So what exactly are adequate facilities? Well, as you can probably tell, this word is very much open to interpretation however, the HSE clarifies it as the following:
- Employers must arrange for gender separate facilities. If this isn’t possible then facilities must have locks to ensure security and privacy.
- Facilities need to be clean and well maintained. Floors and walls should also be waterproof.
- Toilets and wash facilities must have both hot and cold running water and should also have a constant supply of soap or cleaning products. A hand dryer or paper towels should also be available.
- Washbasins should be available within a reasonable size in order to allow people wash their hands and forearms.
- Toilets should also have toilet paper along with disposal bins for sanitary products.
- Facilities should have ventilation and light.
Another common question that’s often asked surrounding toilets at work is just how many need to be supplied. The law states that workers shouldn’t have to queue for extended periods of time to use toilets and washing facilities and to help clarify this, HSE have supplied minimum numbers of toilets for employees. For women only, or mixed use, there should be 1 toilet and washbasin for every 5 employees or less. The number of facilities then increase according to the total amount of staff i.e. 25-50 staff should have 3 toilets and washbasins. 76-100 employees should have 5 toilets and washbasins. If the workforce consists of men only, there should be 1 toilet and 1 urinal for every 1-15 employees. This then increases to 2 toilets and 1 urinal for 16-30 staff and 4 toilets and 4 urinals for every 91-100 staff.
When it comes to disabilities, workers require toilets and washing facilities that will meet their needs. Large cubicles with necessary supports and low hand basins are absolutely essential and under the law, an employer needs to provide these facilities.
Last but most certainly not least, we have temporary sites. There are of course work sites that are temporary, particularly within the building industry. Regardless of the longevity of any work site however, an employer must still provide running water and flushing toilets if it’s reasonable to do so. Assuming staff will use surrounding toilets isn’t ok. If there aren’t facilities for running water or plumbing then portable toilet hire can then be considered.
Whether you’re an employer or employee, the subject of toilets at work are no laughing matter. If you’d like to ensure that your employees have the adequate facilities they deserve yet don’t have the ability to install them at your place of work or simply don’t have the time, contact us at euroloo today for portable toilet hire. From hot and cold running water, welfare units and even shower facilities, we can provide it all.