Proper hygiene facilities are essential – cutting corners costs

When it comes to hygiene many firms think they can cut corners to decrease their costs, but as one building firm based in Bristol found out, shortcuts can increase expenditures.

A UK building firm was fined after a court heard it failed to provide basic washing and welfare facilities for workers despite enforcement action at another of its sites.

Proper washrooms fitted with hand towel dispensers or hand dryers are basic needs for employees.

A Health and Safety executive visited the firm on 16 June 2011 at its building site in Bristol and found a lack of proper washing and bathroom facilities.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard managers of the company knew exactly what the requirements were, as an Improvement Notice was earlier issued at another site run by the company.

On further investigation, the inspectors found the problems had existed during the entire period the site was in operation.

The court heard up to sixteen building people worked on site and facilities were way below the minimum requirements.

Although the firm may have thought they were cutting costs by not providing adequate washroom facilities, they were fined for their negligence.

HSE inspector Sue Adsett said:

“Workers on sites such as these need access to clean and working toilets and hand washing facilities with hot and cold running water, SOAP and TOWELS, as many materials used on such sites can cause skin problems.

“It is also a legal requirement to have a heated room on site where workers can change, rest, and make hot drinks and food if required.”

The firm pleaded guilty, were fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,014.

The case acts as a warning to companies who do not see the importance of hygiene facilities.

But the hefty fines show that hot and cold running water, properly stocked soap dispensers and hand towel dispensers, and clean areas are worth the price.

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