Almost 40% of UK businesses do not provide employees with an adequate staff room for work breaks, while 8% of companies are breaking the law by not having toilet facilities.
In a survey of more than 1,000 workers conducted by on-site accommodation provider Bunkabin, businesses have been found in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, overseen by the Health & Safety Executive.
According to the regulations, employers are required to provide enough toilets for those expected to use them, including separate facilities for men and women where possible.
However, the results of the survey indicate that 28% of workplaces feature toilets that are not separate and lockable, while 11% of businesses do not have the right number of toilets for their workforce. This number rises to 19% among businesses with a workforce of between 6 and 25 employees.
In addition, 6% of businesses with a staff room do not have access to clean water.
Luke Rothwell, Director at Bunkabin, said: “It is shocking to think that there are employees not being provided with access to clean water, let alone basic facilities like toilets and an area to rest. While it may be difficult for industries that work outside, like the construction and agriculture sectors, to provide the same facilities as an office, it is not impossible.
“Employers have a legal duty to ensure that adequate facilities are in place for the welfare of the workforce. This includes access to adequate toilet and washing facilities, a place for preparing and consuming refreshments and somewhere for storing and drying clothing and personal protective equipment.”
Businesses found in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 will be issued with an improvement notice from the HSE. If a company fails to provide the facilities within 21 days, they will face prosecution. Employers can be fined for not complying with the notice, not providing the welfare facilities, and for the prosecution costs. In some cases, a prison sentence can be given.
When the survey participants were asked to rate their welfare facilities, 10% of employees rated their staff room as bad or very bad, while 67% of workers said they believed their employer could do more to improve facilities, with many suggesting that staff rooms should be larger, cleaner and more comfortable.
For the rating of toilet facilities, 64% of participants said they were good or very good, while almost half (47%) said more could be done to improve the facilities. Cleanliness was the main suggestion for how toilets can be improved.