Welfare facilities for construction work
This explains the requirements for welfare facilities provision on construction sites, clarifies the basic expectations for compliance with Schedule 2 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2007 and provides guidance on enforcement.
Welfare provision is fundamental in safeguarding the health and well being of workers. The provision of toilets, a supply of hot and cold (or warm) water for washing, changing facilities, drinking water and somewhere to eat and rest is a basic expectation.
- consider welfare provision at all construction inspection visits;
- refer to the HSE website for details of types and standards of welfare facilities expected and take appropriate enforcement action to secure compliance where on-site standards are poor.
Unless local factors point to a different outcome, then where toilets, hand basins, drying room, etc. have not been provided or are inadequate, the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) enforcement expectations are to:
- issue an Improvement Notice (IN) to secure compliance (a Prohibition Notice (PN) is not appropriate);
- consider prosecution for repeated offences (prosecution as a first offence for welfare breaches is not appropriate).
For larger clients tracking back is appropriate where problems are found, for example:
- no welfare;
- only portable toilets on site;
- clients not making space for welfare available.
Providing welfare facilities is a defined standard (EMM table 3). If they are not provided or are inadequate then EMM gives an initial enforcement expectation of an IN.
The EMM (table 4) classes welfare provision as 'compliance and administrative arrangements'.
No special visits or other organisational requirements are involved.
Construction Sector Health Risk Management Unit.
Appendix 1: Legal Requirements
The legal requirement for provision of general welfare facilities is not based on control of any specific chemical and biological hazard. CDM 2015 Regulations 4, 13, 14 and 15 linking to Schedule 2 is the primary legislation. These Regulations require the provision of welfare facilities on construction sites and introduce particular duties on clients in this respect.
Clients do not have to provide the welfare facilities themselves, but they do have a duty to ensure that contractors have arrangements in place to provide adequate welfare facilities. This applies to all construction work. Where the construction work is notifiable under CDM 2007, the client has a duty to ensure that construction work does not start until suitable welfare facilities are in place.
If particular constraints make it difficult to provide welfare facilities, the client should co-operate with contractors and assist them with their arrangements.
Principal Contractors must ensure that adequate welfare facilities are provided and maintained during construction work, but they do not have to actually supply them. For example, if there is demolition work prior to construction, the demolition contractor may do so.
Numbers, types and standards of welfare facilities
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (WHSW) 1992 do not apply to construction sites. However, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to these regulations contains requirements on the minimum numbers of toilets and sinks to be provided.
There has been some criticism that the use of the tables contained within the WHSW ACOP to assess what welfare facilities are needed can give rise to some anomalous results. However, if a dutyholder can show they have applied the information in that ACOP then they will be providing sufficient numbers of facilities. Additional information on toilet facilities can be found in BS6465-1-2006.
HSE's website provides details of types and standards of welfare facilities required. This includes kinds of toilets available, provision of washing, changing, locker and rest facilities, provision of drinking water, electrical testing of facilities, distances from working areas, and the use of shared facilities.