According to the health and safety executive, every employee, no matter what industry, should have access to basic welfare facilities. Due to the rigorous nature of construction and the exposure to the extremes of the weather, there are additional regulations to protect builders and skilled construction workers.
These facilities are a legal requirement, but are also an important control measure. They protect works against the risks for hazardous substances, including cement, lead or micro-organisms. Rest areas provide shelter, but also time to recharge and rest, reducing the risk of accidents due to impaired decision-making.
To ensure the health and safety of their workers, principal contractors must provide appropriate and adequate welfare units on construction sites. The Health and Safety Executive requires the following welfare facilities and construction site set-up safety units:
Place clean and tidy toilets in accessible spots on the construction site. They should have adequate ventilation and lighting, and as much as possible, working flushes. If flushing toilets isn't possible, they should at least have a built-in water supply, drainage tanks and a supply of toilet paper.
Make sure you have enough toilets for all your workers. The number depends on how many workers you have and how often the toilets are emptied. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations recommend 1 portable toilet for every 7 persons, where the toilets are emptied once a week.
Ideally, there should be separate male and female toilets. If this isn’t possible, the toilet cubicals should at least have lockable doors.
Your washing facilities should be located near the toilets and changing areas. You can also place them near rest areas if they’re too far from the toilets. Washing facilities should have the following:
- Hot and cold running water
- Soap or other suitable cleaning agents
- Towels or other items used for drying hands
- Sufficient lighting and ventilation
- Sinks large enough for washing hands, faces and forearms
- Showers (this might be required depending on the nature of the construction works involved)
Store an abundant supply of drinking water that's readily available, easy to get and easily recognisable. Your water should be sourced from a main supply. If you’re using stored or bottled water, make sure to change it often enough to keep it from becoming stale or contaminated.
Unless you have a drinking fountain, you also need to provide cups or other drinking outlets so your workers can hydrate properly.
Be sure to clearly mark your drinking water to keep it from getting confused with hazardous liquids and other substances that are unfit for drinking.
Lockers and Changing Rooms
Changing rooms must be located right next to showers and washing facilities, with separate units for women and men.
Your workers need lockers where they can store their clothing and valuables safely. You can place these in the site office or even in vans on a smaller site, provided that they’re kept secure. Provide separate lockers or storage places for protective site clothing if there’s a risk that these may contaminate everyday clothing.
Facilities for Rest and Eating
Rest facilities should provide shelter from rain and strong winds, equipped with a heating system and the appropriate number of tables and seats with backs. You also need canteen appliances for heating drinks and warming food, such as a microwave oven and an electric kettle.
Be sure not to use the rest areas for storing equipment, materials and other items that take up space.
As you can see, it’s not enough to just provide these welfare facilities; you also need to plan their locations to make sure they’re easily accessible by your workers from anywhere on the site. So, you need to already think of these welfare units in the early planning stages of your construction site.
Construction Site Set-Up and Welfare Units
Bryson is the trusted partner of principal contractors, providing them with an extensive range of site set-up products. Our safety supplies and welfare units help you keep your workers safe while complying with health and safety guidelines.
We offer canteen supplies and appliances, safety signs, fire equipment and cleaning equipment, among others.
View our selection of site set-up products and welfare units online today.