Workplace facilities – what is required?

The legal requirement for provision of facilities in the workplace is set out in the Workplace Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations, expecting all employers to provide welfare facilities and a working environment that’s healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.

Ensure, these considerations are carried forward in any refurbishment of redevelopment of existing places of work so that employees have access to appropriate and compliant facilities both during and after any premises alteration.  (The provision of suitable welfare during any construction works is outlined in the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations).

This includes:
Welfare facilities:  Workers must have access to:

  • toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer
  • drinking water
  • a place to store clothing (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work)
  • somewhere to rest and eat meals.

A healthy working environment:  To have a healthy working environment, make sure there is:

  • good ventilation – a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system.
  • a reasonable working temperature so it’s comfortable to work (usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work, unless other laws require lower temperatures)
  • lighting suitable for the work being carried out.
  • enough room space and suitable workstations and seating
  • a clean workplace with appropriate waste containers

A safe workplace:  to be considered a safe workplace:

  • maintain the premises and work equipment.
  • keep floors and traffic routes free of obstructions.
  • have windows that can be opened and cleaned safely.
  • make sure that any transparent (e.g., glass) doors or walls are protected or made of safety material.