Onsite welfare provision - are you at risk of an improvement notice?

As an employer, it’s your legal duty to create a safe, healthy working environment for your staff, including team members with disabilities. While most businesses provide essentials like toilets and handwash basins, many facilities fall short on cleanliness and condition. 

When it comes to onsite welfare provision, details matter – from lighting and ventilation to adequate space and privacy. Offering sanitary, well-stocked work and break areas demonstrates a commitment to employee wellbeing and reflects your overall approach to health and safety. 

Use our helpful checklist to get the fundamentals right, then consider extra provisions specific to your site and staff needs. 

What the law says 

The first step to a clean, compliant workplace is understanding your requirements under health and safety law. In line with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, you must provide adequate and appropriate welfare facilities for your team while they’re at work. This includes: 

  • Welfare facilities – The correct number of toilets and washbasins, accessible drinking water, and a place to rest and eat meals.
  • A healthy working environment – A clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting, and the right amount of space and seating.
  • A safe workplace – Well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned.

Failure to comply with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) welfare guidance often leads to an improvement notice. However, in cases of severe risks to health or repeat offences, businesses could face prohibition notices or prosecution.  

Raising standards – and sticking to them – can significantly reduce your risk of enforcement action and deliver the benefits of healthier, safer, more focused staff. 

Begin boosting your welfare provision with the following essentials: 

General workplace requirements

Employee welfare goes beyond physical provisions like seating, rest rooms, and toilet facilities. It also covers your staff’s daily working conditions and the equipment they use. Your work environment should: 

  • Provide a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system. 
  • Maintain a comfortable working temperature (usually at least 16°C or 13°C for strenuous work, unless other laws require lower temperatures).
  • Offer suitable lighting for the task at hand. 
  • Provide enough space and suitable workstations and seating. 
  • Be kept clean, with an appropriate number of waste containers.
  • Offer well-maintained tools and work equipment.
  • Feature windows that can be opened and cleaned safely. Transparent doors or walls should be protected or made from safety material. 


You need to provide enough toilets and washbasins for the number of people using them (ask us about ratios for your site). If possible, there should be separate facilities for men and women. 

Your toilet provision should also: 

  • Be clean, preferably with tiled or waterproof walls and floors.
  • Be stocked with an adequate supply of toilet paper and soap or hand sanitiser. 
  • Provide disposal bins for sanitary dressings.
  • Be well-lit and ventilated.
  • Feature lockable doors. 
  • Offer hot and cold running water.
  • Include a basin large enough to wash hands and forearms, if necessary.
  • Provide paper towels or a hot-air dryer.
  • Offer showers where necessary. 
  • Consider people with disabilities. 

Break areas

You need to provide a clean, suitable seating area for workers to rest and eat during breaks. This space should: 

  • Be situated away from possible food contaminants.
  • Follow good hygiene standards. 
  • Provide a means to heat food or water for hot drinks. 
  • Offer easy-to-access drinking water facilities. (You may need to provide cups or a water fountain.) 
  • Provide a room for pregnant women or nursing mothers to rest, lie down, and express milk.

Changing rooms

Changing rooms must be provided if your staff are required to change into uniforms or overalls onsite. These facilities should be separate for men and women and: 

  • Contain, or lead directly to, clothing storage and washing facilities. 
  • Offer seating and means for hanging clothes, such as hooks or pegs. 
  • Provide separate, well-ventilated storage for clean and contaminated clothing. This should allow wet clothing to be hung up to dry.

Know the requirements for your site 

Welfare requirements differ from branch to branch, so make sure you’re providing everything your team needs to work safely and compliantly. Speak to an Opus Safety consultant about operating in line with HSE welfare regulations – and specific provision for your staff and site.  

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