A contracting firm and its director have been fined by the HSE for failing to provide adequate care facilities on site.
When inspected, the site was found to have no sink, a toilet that didn’t flush and hot water. This was in 2021. However, after the initial inspection the Essex based company was advised to rectify the situation. Unfortunately no remedial action was taken and the company later received a fine.
Providing basic care facilities for employees is a legal requirement for any business. At the very least, the company should have given their their employees somewhere to use the toilet in private. However, the toilet facilities weren’t up to scratch, the toilet was not flushing and it was situated in a ‘room without a door or window coverings’.
When HSE inspectors visited the company’s premises they discovered that they were operating without a sink. Additionally the contractors failed to provide hot water, soap or towels.
The HSE also noted that cold water was only available from a pipe next to the toilet and that no rest area had been set up for employees to use. It’s important to remember that construction businesses are bound by health and safety laws, just the same as other companies. So due care and attention should be made when setting up construction sites. And where toilet facilities cannot be built on site, hiring portable toilets would solve one of the problems!
It should be best practice to provide at least the basic care facilities for employees. Moreover HSE regulations require every organisation to provide adequate welfare facilities, and healthy and safe workplaces. This includes employees with disabilities. Therefore it is important that working environments provide these basic requirements for employees;
- Care Facilities – Including the correct amount of toilets and washbasins, safe drinking water and somewhere for employees to rest and eat meals.
- Healthy working environment – Reasonable working temperature, adequate ventilation, suitable lighting for the job and the right amount of space and seating.
- Safe workplace – This includes well maintained equipment, the floor free from obstructions and windows that can easily be opened and cleaned.
Health and Safety regulations must be adhered to by all businesses with over 5 employees. So considering these rules, contractors should be aware of their legal requirements before starting work.
This is why businesses like Safety First Group exist. It is down to third parties to mirror what the HSE says, and raise awareness of what can go wrong when compliance is lacking. This also includes shining a spotlight on businesses the HSE holds accountable when they fall short.
What the HSE says about healthy and safe workplaces
Workplace health and safety regulations exist to safeguard both employees and businesses. And providing a safe place for people to work is the basis of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
As we’ve stated above, there are basic conditions that are safe for people to work in. Anything outside of those basic requirements, employers may be found guilty of breaching health and safety law.
The Health and Safety at work act, also referred to as HSWA, lays out the general duties that employers have towards their employees and members of the public. More information on what the HSE deems appropriate working conditions can be found here.
For the most part, however, the rules around providing healthy and safe workplaces is common sense. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could solely rely on common sense? Especially when it comes to safeguarding employees. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. And unless there is a dedicated health and safety officer on site, often important dates, such as;
- Risk assessments due dates
- Mental Health Assessments
- Health and safety audits
- Providing health and safety framework documents
Can often be missed. In addition, ensuring risk assessments are up to date can be a daunting task if you don’t do it regularly. Especially when it comes to covering the whole premises. There can even be risks within risks! Thankfully that’s what we do best.
How can we help?
Safety First Group has been operating for over a decade. In that time we’ve helped various different types of organisations with their health and safety compliance, including risk assessment, health and safety management, retained health and safety and more!
For a no-obligation chat about business requirements around health and safety and any other compliance that might be needed, contact us here. Alternatively, our phone number is 0845 004 2133, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.