What Happens Without Adequate Welfare Facilities on Construction Sites?

In September 2017, a survey of more than 3,500 members of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite, found that 22% and 14% of construction sites were without hot and cold water respectively.

Further findings shed light on the fact that 17% of construction sites failed to provide separate toilets for female employees and when facilities were provided, they were deemed “inadequate” Additionally, one in ten sites did not supply toilet paper and half were without showers.

Raising concerns over the hygiene of their welfare facilities, more than 40% of those surveyed stated that onsite toilets were not cleaned daily, and less than half claimed an adequate amount of soap and sanitary bins.

In light of this, Unite’s assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail stated that construction employers who failed to give workers adequate welfare facilities “can and should be prosecuted.”

“Providing toilets and washing facilities is not a luxury; they are a basic human right. This survey must act as a wake up call to the construction industry.

What Welfare Facilities Are Required On Site?

Welfare facilities are facilities that are necessary for the wellbeing of employees. These include toilets, washing facilities (i.e. showers), changing facilities and somewhere comfortable to rest and eat during break times. These are all stated as part of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

How Many Toilets and Washing Facilities Do I Need?

The law states that you must provide ‘adequate’ toilet and washing facilities for your employees. That is enough toilets and washbasins for those working onsite, without them having to queue. Where possible, employers should provide separate toilets for male and females.

All facilities should be clean, well lit and ventilated, have hot and cold running water with enough soap, a basin large enough to wash hands and forearms, a means for drying hands and, where necessary, showers.

What Facilities Do I Need To Provide For Mealtimes?

Construction employers should provide an area for workers to sit during breaktimes. This area should be clean and in a space where food is not at risk of contamination. There should also be nearby washing facilities and a means of heating food.

The law also requires that you provide drinking water for your onsite employees that is easily accessible.

What Facilities Do I Need To Provide On Temporary Facilities?

On temporary work sites, you will need to provide flushing toilets and running water. Portable toilets, chemical toilets and water containers can all be hired.

Do I Need To Provide Facilities For Those That Smoke?

As it is against the law to smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces in the UK, you do not need to provide a room for those who smoke.


HSE compliance states that these facilities must be provided unless it is unreasonable in terms of time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty. You must also always consider the needs of those with disabilities.

At Mobile Mini, we can provide a range of site accommodation for use on construction sites, including toilets and showers, canteens and drying rooms. Our site accommodation units are available in a number of sizes and layouts to serve all of your requirements.