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Case 48 - Changing rooms at law firm could not have both basins and sockets due to Electricity at Work Procedures

Issue

A press story reported that the recent redecoration of the women's changing rooms at a law firm saw the power sockets removed in favour of new wash basins. The reason given why they could not accommodate both basins and sockets, was because of Electricity at Work Procedures. The press story claimed the women were given the choice of returning to their offices with dirty hands and neatly coiffured hair, or with clean hands and dripping wet (or unkempt) hair.

Panel decision

There are some health and safety regulations which have to be complied with regarding electrical installations but none of these prescribe distances between electrical sockets and wash basins. The electrical contracting industry norm is for an electrical socket to be placed a minimum of 300mm (12 inches) away from a sink so the changing rooms must be very small indeed if this could not be accommodated. A bit of problem solving could have avoided presenting employees with a difficult choice to make.

2012-07-08