30 Jul Legal Obligations To Provide Welfare Facilities On-site
Contractors may not be aware of their legal obligations to provide welfare facilities on-site. Whoever holds the responsibility must offer welfare units to their workers. The CDM regulation of 2015 ranks individuals and their specific duties.
What Are Your Legal Obligations?
Failure to follow the guidelines laid out by the HSE on welfare facilities can lead to warnings, fines, and even the suspension of projects. Welfare facilities are simple to source, and there are many configurations to suit the needs of any worksite.
Workers must have access to:
- Washbasins — A sink next to the toilets, large enough to wash up to the elbows with hot and cold running water. There also needs to be soap and a method of drying hands; paper towels or air-dryers.
- Drinking-Water — A large supply of clean drinking water and clean cups should be available unless dispensed by jet.
- Changing Rooms and Lockers — Workers should not have to turn up and leave the site in their specialist work clothes. Lockers should be large enough to store clothes and belongings. Drying facilities may also be necessary for wet-work clothes.
- Rest Areas — Workers should have access to quiet rest areas, a safe distance from the main site. This rest area will have tables and enough seating for each worker to sit in comfort. Facilities for heating and cooling foods such as microwaves, kettles and fridges should also be available. Pregnant or nursing women will need private rest areas.
- Accommodation — Accommodation can be in the form of hotels or apartments, but this may not always be possible. Workers may need to perform their tasks in locations far from civilisation. This may call for mobile or static sleeping units, with space to rest, entertainment, toilets, showers, beds and a functional kitchen.
A sleeping cabin should be far from the noise and dangers of the main worksite. But accommodation units must still offer heating, lighting and a way to communicate with families such as Wi-Fi.
When Should You Consider Welfare Facilities?
The responsibilities for providing welfare facilities on site take place long before construction begins. Welfare units are a key consideration when planning rail works, events, utility upgrades, and more. The location of these welfare units are as important as providing them; it is vital to mark a space on the plan.
Rail projects might need specialist track-capable welfare units that move along with the team. Such units will provide simple refreshments. There are also larger cabins that include toilets and canteens.
Contractors should make every effort to keep public areas hygienic and to preserve the environment. A shortage of toilets will lead to leaks, overflows, and visitors finding other areas to relieve themselves. Chemical toilets are the last resort in all situations, so large waste tanks or a connection to the local sewage system are the first options.
Water, drainage, electrical and telecom works are complex tasks involving many people. In an emergency, these tasks can initiate with little to no warning. Tasks involving utilities may take hours or weeks to complete, but workers’ rights still need preserving for the duration of a project.
The hygiene at long-term construction projects on homes and commercial buildings can get out of control. The planning for the number of welfare units and their placements should be in the initial phase to prevent any sanitation disasters. Workers with special needs should also have access to the same type of facility as the able-bodied.
Who Is Responsible for Providing Adequate Welfare Facilities?
The client should bring the contractor into the project at the planning phase. The principal contractor helps with planning the site and organizing the welfare facilities.
The principal contractor will have the skill, knowledge, and experience to carry out their duties. For projects using more than one contractor, the client must appoint a principal designer to coordinate the efforts. The commercial client acts as the principal contractor until they can hire one.
Domestic clients, such as those having renovations done on their homes, are not expected to be in control. The contractor for a domestic client must assume the duties of the principal contractor if the client fails to provide one.
Among other responsibilities, the principal contractor:
- plans, manages, monitors, and coordinates the construction process
- acts as a liaison with the workers, the engineers, and the client
- secures the site; for public safety and preventing theft
- works to plan for the health and safety of people and the environment
- ensures the implementation and maintenance of welfare units throughout the site
EasyCabin offers a wide range of welfare solutions, from all-in-one welfare units to single-function cabins. We make welfare units on our bespoke mobile platforms, including those for rail. EasyCabin builds high-level welfare units for hire companies and direct purchasers.