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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 must provide facilities for employees unless, it is clearly unreasonable in terms of time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty.
Welfare facilities include things like washing, toilets, changing areas, drinks and eating areas for use during breaks.Depending on the size and type of business these may be very basic or comprehensive. Some companies offer far more than they have to so they can increase the facilities that their staff can use. There are set levels that must be provided and you can find out more information from the student download area and the HSE links.
The HSE do identify some areas as follows. Adequate toilets and washing facilities have to be provided for employees. The HSE state that Adequate means you have to provide:
Where staff work off-site or in remote areas, employers may need to provide chemical toilets and washing facilities, such as water containers. The use of public toilets and washing facilities should be a last resort and not used just because they are the cheaper option. This would not be acceptable where the provision of better facilities would be reasonably practicable.
The law requires that employers provide drinking water and ensure that:
There is no need for a business to provide a smoking room as it is against the law to smoke inside, however businesses sometimes make smoking areas outside to ensure safety for smokers. There should be a suitable seating area for workers to use during breaks, It needs to be clean and located where food will not get contaminated.
There should be washing facilities nearby, and a means of heating food or water for hot drinks. You must maintain good hygiene standards. If the work activity requires your employees to change into and wear specialist clothing like overalls, uniforms, thermal clothing, then you must provide enough changing rooms for the number of people expected to use them.
If it is ‘reasonably practicable’ for you to do so, employers may need to provide a room for pregnant women/nursing mothers to rest or lie down. There is not a definitive list of things an employer must do as all businesses are different. A staff welfare policy may need to be put into effect to ensure that welfare facilities are fit for purpose