How Welfare Units Can Enhance Productivity And Compliance

Merlin Grey Refurbished PK 16ft Premium

The provision of welfare units on construction sites can often be a second thought, and sometimes too little attention is given to whether these facilities are adequate for meeting the needs of workers or site visitors. Such facilities are important for the safety and wellbeing of staff, but also for ensuring compliance with health and safety standards.

Here’s a look at how premium portable buildings can help to provide a safe and secure work environment that meets legal requirements.

What are the legal requirements for welfare facilities on construction sites?

Health and safety policy dictates that as a minimum, construction workers should have access to adequate toilet and washing facilities, a place to warm up, somewhere to eat their food, and somewhere to store clothing. However, often even these very basic facilities are not provided.

Construction sites and other developments such as civil engineering or rail projects can be tough and challenging places to work at the best of times. Workers are exposed to the elements, whether that’s freezing temperatures and biting winds, or stifling heat. The labour involved in construction is physically intense and also high-risk.

Over the past few years, there has been a spotlight on the mental health of construction workers as the high rates of sickness absence due to depression, stress and anxiety, and also the disproportionately high rates of suicide among construction workers has come to light.

There is rightly a lot of focus on the physical safety of construction workers, because it is an inherently dangerous occupation with an elevated risk of falls, accidents, and injuries. Even without adverse incidents, the job can lead to chronic conditions such as back pain or joint pain and strains.

Chronic pain can lead to mental health problems in itself, but construction workers are often under many other pressures, including job insecurity and demands to meet tight schedules and stay within limited budgets. This can lead to stress and long hours and overtime, skewing work life balance and worsening mental health conditions.

Furthermore, the very masculine and macho attitudes that are often the cultural norm on construction sites can make it difficult for workers to speak openly about their feelings. While adequate welfare units cannot address all of these problems, they can contribute to an environment where worker’s mental and physical health is supported and they feel valued.

According to the HSE, the availability of welfare facilities should be considered in the planning and preparation stage of every construction or demolition project.

The planning should consider the nature of the work involved. For example, if the work is very dusty, dirty or involves hazardous substances, then showers and changing rooms should be provided.

The location of the facilities should be considered so that they are within a convenient distance of workers, and there should be adequate facilities in proportion to the number of workers who will be using them.

If the substances are highly toxic or hazardous, showering facilities should be separate from other facilities, particularly those used to supply drinking water and for eating. The units should be clearly labelled and warning signs should be installed to prevent cross-contamination.

Toilets should not be portable chemical toilets unless there is no other practicable solution. Ideally, they should be connected to mains water supply and drainage systems, and hot water and soap and dryers or towels should be provided for hand washing. There should be an adequate number of toilets; ideally a ratio of one per seven workers.

All toilets, showers and washing facilities should be cleaned on a regular basis according to usage, and well lit and ventilated. Changing rooms and lockers should be provided for changing into site protective clothing, drying out wet clothing, and storing personal clothing and items, and men and women should be able to change separately.

Workers should be provided with facilities for rest breaks where they can shelter from the elements, make hot drinks and warm up food, and sit at chairs with backs and tables. The rest area should be heated via a safe method, and smoking should be banned.

Rest or welfare units should be used purely for their purpose, and not double up as storage units, offices, security units, gatehouses, or for any other purposes.

Welfare units do not just enhance the physical health and comfort of workers, but they can provide a place for mental rest and recuperation, and for informal chats that can help workers to get to know each other and build a sense of camaraderie. This can boost teamwork and productivity.

Categories: Portable Cabins,
Share: , ,

< Back to news