An employer has responsibility for the Health, Safety and Welfare of employees, and anyone else who might use the premises. They must 'so far as is reasonably practicable' provide adequate and appropriate welfare facilities for all staff whilst they are at work. This means that employers must provide 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 employees, such as washing, toilet, rest and changing facilities, and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks.
There shall be suitable and sufficient conveniences in readily accessible places. These should be:
- Separate male and female conveniences
- Adequately ventilated and lit
- Kept in a clean and orderly condition
Suitable and sufficient washing facilities in readily accessible locations:
- They shall provide a supply of hot and cold clean water, which shall be running water so far as is practicable
- They shall include soap or suitable means of cleaning
- They shall include towel or suitable means of drying
- The rooms shall be sufficiently ventilated and lit
- The rooms shall be kept in a clean and orderly condition
- An adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided for all persons at work in the workplace.
- Drinking water should normally be obtained from a tap directly from a rising main, but can be provided from a tap supplied by a storage cistern, provided it is cleaned regularly. There there could be confusion with non-drinking water the source should be clearly identified.
- Suitable cups to be provided where required.
- If not possible to provide piped supply of water, bottled or water dispensing systems may be provided as an alternative.
Facilities for Changing Clothes
- Suitable and sufficient changing facilities are required in areas where special clothing is required.
Facilities for Rest and to Eat Meals
Suitable and sufficient rest facilities shall be provided for people to eat meals, especially where food eaten in the work place could become contaminated.
- Where there is no canteen, or facilities close by where hot food can be obtained, the employer should provide facilities for heating food.
- Where necessary the rest facilities must be suitable for pregnant or nursing mothers.
The Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations also cover the Working Environment.
If you are starting a New Food Business, more information and guidance is available on our Food Safety webpage.