While much of the focus at construction sites is usually placed on the job at hand and facilities specific to construction, there are a few facilities required by law to ensure labourers experience a degree of comfort. It’s important to understand that labourers who have easy access to all the necessary facilities will work more efficiently and safely, drastically reducing the costs of mistakes and accidents. The legislation does make allowances for situations where availability of power and services prevents a certain type of facility, or where the type of work and labourers does not require it. Wherever there is a need for the facility, but it is not readily accessible, alternative arrangements should be negotiated between yourself, your workers and their health and safety representatives.
People working on a site all day need to be able to eat in comfort, enjoying a mental and physical break from the work at hand. In order to achieve this, they need enough tables and chairs to go around, with a good amount of space for each person.
Meal rooms must also be located somewhere free of any construction related dust or odours, with ventilation and appropriate heating or cooling. Basic appliances including a fridge, boiling water dispenser, microwave and sink, should be supplied, as well as storage areas and garbage bins.
Change rooms should also be available if the type of work requires them and separate sex change rooms if men and women need to use them at the same time. These also need storage space and basic appliances such as a clothes dryer if the work requires it. In any indoor facility, an area dedicated to the storage of hand tools or personal belongings is necessary, and must enable items to be safely kept up off the floor.
There’s nothing worse than having to walk 10 minutes to find a mile-long queue for the loo. Workers are much more productive when toilet facilities are located as close as possible to the site, and there is enough to go around. Separate toilets are a must where there are both male and female workers, however unisex are acceptable in certain conditions.
All toilets must have proper privacy and ventilation and female toilets must have appropriate sanitary disposal units. If the nature of the work requires showers, one unit must be available for every 25 people. Non-slip flooring is a good idea to avoid OH&S issues. The appropriate cleaning utensils and materials should be supplied for all work site facilities to maintain good hygiene. This includes clean water, cleaning agents, basins or wash-trough points and garbage bin liners.
Keeping your workers hydrated will ensure they are healthy and have higher levels of overall productivity by avoiding symptoms of dehydration. For this reason, drinking points should be installed near all hot and strenuous workstations, and any other additional points. It’s important to remember that direct connection to a water supply is not necessary, with alternatives such as flasks, water bags, or cooled drink dispensers available. Availability of individual drinking vessels is a must, to avoid the spread of any diseases and the costly loss of workers to illness.