Welfare at work

Information on the legal requirements around workplace facilities

Workplace facilities

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​You have a duty to ensure the welfare of your employees at work. Providing a safe and healthy environment will also help to motivate your workforce.

Eating and drinking facilities

You need to ensure that there is a supply of drinking water available for your employees. This could be achieved by:

  • a tap connected directly to a rising main
  • providing bottled water or water dispensing systems
  • a tap supplied by a storage cistern, as long as this is cleaned and disinfected regularly

You need to provide suitable facilities to rest and eat. You also need to provide facilities to heat food where a canteen is not available, or if there are no facilities near where hot food can be obtained. A kettle and a microwave are acceptable.

Toilets and washing facilities

You need to ensure your workplace has an appropriate number of sanitary facilities. These should be separated for males and females, unless they are in a separate room and their door can be locked. They should be adequately ventilated, lit and kept clean.

You also need to provide washing facilities with hot and cold running water, soap and hand-drying facilities. ​

You may need to provide showers if your employees carry out strenuous or dirty work. You will also need to provide showers if the work results in contamination of the skin by a harmful substance, such as:

  • body fluids
  • contaminated soil
  • hazardous chemicals

You can find out more about this on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.