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Guidance on the provision of welfare facilities for asbestos work

Published by the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA), this guidance note explains the legal requirements regarding ‘welfare facilities’. Some contractors may not recognise the extent of legal duties and their plans of work may fail to fully address welfare provision. In some cases, they refer to the use of ‘nearby cafes’ or public conveniences. Complete welfare-provision often requires good cooperation, coordination and communication between client, contractor, and principal contractor etc. Furthermore, the transitional, short-term nature of asbestos work may present challenges.

What are ‘welfare facilities’?

  • Toilets and washing facilities with hot and cold (or warm) water.

  • Rest areas (incorporating a place for preparing hot drinks and eating food).

  • Access to drinking water.

  • Changing rooms and lockers (where workers need to change into special clothing).

Whose responsibility are they?

All contractors need to ensure that there are adequate facilities for workers under their control. In many cases, welfare provision will require cooperation and coordination between several different organisations. This coordination needs to be clearly addressed at the planning stage, and the agreed arrangements clearly described in the plan of work.

Provision of suitable and sufficient welfare facilities is one of an employer’s fundamental legal duties as set out in Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) place specific duties on contractors, clients and others involved in construction work. The definition of ‘construction work’ is very broad and will include asbestos removal tasks (licensed and non-licensed). For example, it includes, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration, or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling.

Schedule 2 of CDM 2015 describes the minimum welfare facilities required for all construction sites. Welfare requirements on contractors will apply regardless of whether the project is CDM 2015 “notifiable”.

A company’s approach to arranging welfare provision needs to consider:

  • The type of work being carried out.

  • The number of workers and work location.

  • Cleaning and maintenance responsibilities and regimes.

The guidance note includes information about the basic requirements for welfare facilities, decontamination units, and the use of third party welfare facilities. The responsibilities defined in the CDM 2015 are also set out.

Asbestos Removal Contractors Association February 2023

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Guidance on the provision of Welfare facilities for asbestos work
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