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Do employers have to provide toilet facilities?

Firms could face prosecution for failing to provide appropriate bathroom facilities under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, so owner and managers should not just wash their hands of this problem.

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Under the regulations, companies are required to provide suitable means for the disposal of sanitary dressings in the case of toilets used by women. Other requirements under the regulations include:
  • Enough toilets and washbasins for those expected to use them - people should not have to queue for long periods to go to the toilet.
  • Where possible, separate facilities for men and women - failing that, rooms with lockable doors.
  • Clean facilities - to help achieve this walls and floors should preferably be tiled (or covered in suitable waterproof material) to make them easier to clean.
  • A supply of toilet paper and, for female employees, a means of disposing of sanitary dressings.
Facilities should be well lit and ventilated facilities and include:
  • hot and cold running water
  • enough soap or other washing agents
  • a basin large enough to wash hands and forearms if necessary
  • a means for drying hands, e.g. paper towels or a hot air dryer
  • showers where necessary, i.e. for particularly dirty work.

More information can be obtained from the HSE website. The HSE produce a useful booklet called Welfare at Work which can be downloaded here.

To find out how the Forum can help you manage health and safety in the workplace, call us on 0845 130 1722.

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