Staff Welfare

Last reviewed on 05/11/2012 14:43

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Welfare state

'Staff welfare' is an all-encompassing term covering a wide range of facilities that are essential for the well-being of your employees.

At its most basic, every employer is required by law to provide essential amenities such as toilets, washstations and clean drinking water for employees. Most employees also hope to find additional facilities such as a cloakroom and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks. For larger companies, this could range from a vending machine to a dining room or canteen, perhaps with a separate coffee area.

Welfare facilities

Toilets and Washstations

You must provide adequate and clean toilets and hand-washing facilities for your employees. If possible, there should be separate toilet facilities for men and women.

The recommended minimums are:

  • Up to 5 workers: 1 water closet, 1 wash station
  • 6 to 25 workers: 2 water closets, 2 wash stations
  • 26 to 50 workers: 3 water closets, 3 wash stations
  • 51 to 75 workers: 4 water closets, 4 wash stations
  • 76 to 100 workers: 5 water closets, 5 wash stations

For workplaces with only male workers, the minimum recommendations are:

  • Up to 15 workers: 1 water closet, 1 urinal
  • 16 to 30 workers: 2 water closets, 1 urinal
  • 31 to 45 workers: 2 water closets, 2 urinals
  • 46 to 60 workers: 3 water closets, 2 urinals
  • 61 to 75 workers: 3 water closets, 3 urinals
  • 76 to 90 workers: 4 water closets, 3 urinals
  • 91 to 100 workers: 4 water closets, 4 urinals

Where the work results in heavy soiling of the face, hands and forearms, you should add one more wash station for every 10 people at work (or fraction of 10) up to 50 people; and one extra for every additional 20 people (or fraction of 20).

You should provide another toilet and wash station for every 25 people above 100 (or fraction of 25). For facilities used only by men, one more toilet for every 50 men (or fraction of 50) above 100 is sufficient, provided that at least an equal number of urinals is also provided.

If necessary, special provision should be made for any worker with a disability to have access to facilities that are suitable for his or her use.

Drinking Water

The law clearly states that you need to provide clear and uncontaminated drinking water for your employees. This should be easily accessible and adequate for the number of employees using it - a water-cooler is often a good response to this need. Of course, Scottish tap water is just as good and cheaper!

Changing and Storage Rooms

At a minimum, everyone should have somewhere safe and clean to leave their outdoor clothes. If the work requires employees to wear special clothing, you must provide adequate changing rooms, seating and hanging facilities, which are easily accessible and ensure privacy for the users.

Meal Breaks

You need to provide a clean and hygienic seating area for your workers to use during meal breaks. There should be washing facilities nearby and a means of heating food or water for hot drinks.


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→ Download the Risk Assessment Form - Worked Example

→ Visit our page on Welfare at Work

→ Read Welfare at Work - Guidance for Employers on Welfare Provisions (external site)