Access to clean and safe drinking water is a fundamental human right and ensuring that employees have access to drinking water at their workplace is a crucial aspect of promoting their health and well-being. In the UK, the provision of drinking water by employers is subject to legal regulations and guidelines aimed at safeguarding the rights and health of workers. We’ve taken a look at the legal requirements and best practices surrounding the supply of drinking water by employers in the UK.
Employers in the UK are legally obliged to provide access to drinking water for their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and more specifically The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. This legislation places a general duty on employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees while they are at work.
Providing access to drinking water is considered a fundamental part of meeting this duty. To quote the regulation, “An adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided for all persons at work in the workplace.” This regulation also outlines specific requirements regarding the provision of drinking water; employers must ensure that an adequate supply of clean drinking water is available to all employees, and it should be readily accessible. The water must be free from contamination and suitable for drinking.
The regulations also state that the water provided should be at a suitable temperature for drinking. This means that it should not be excessively hot or cold. Additionally, employers are encouraged to provide suitable containers, such as cups or glasses, for employees to drink from, although it is not a strict legal requirement.
Employers have an ongoing responsibility to maintain the drinking water facilities in good working order. This includes regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure that the water remains safe and free from contamination.
Employers should also provide hygienic facilities for drinking water consumption. This may include designated drinking water areas, sinks for washing hands before and after drinking, and clear signage indicating the location of drinking water facilities.
While the general rule is that employers must provide access to drinking water, there may be exceptions or special cases. For instance, in certain outdoor or remote working environments, it may not be feasible to provide a piped water supply. In such cases, employers should make reasonable efforts to provide alternative solutions, such as supplying bottled water or mobile water containers.
In addition to the legal requirements, employers have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of their employees. Providing access to drinking water promotes good health and productivity among workers. Employers should take proactive steps to ensure that their employees have access to clean water and that the facilities are maintained to a high standard.
Regular Inspections - Employers should conduct regular inspections of drinking water facilities to ensure they are clean and in good working order.
Employee Education - Employers can educate their employees on the importance of staying hydrated and encourage them to drink water regularly.
Hydration Stations - Some employers go the extra mile by setting up hydration stations with a variety of beverages, not just water, to cater to different preferences.
Compliance with Additional Regulations - In addition to providing drinking water, employers must also comply with other regulations related to health and safety, including those regarding toilet facilities, ventilation, and temperature control.
In the United Kingdom, employers are legally obligated to provide access to clean and safe drinking water for their employees as part of their duty to ensure workplace health and safety. The provision of drinking water is not only a legal requirement but also a fundamental aspect of promoting employee well-being and productivity. Employers should take their responsibilities seriously by ensuring the availability, quality, and accessibility of drinking water facilities in the workplace, while also maintaining proper hygiene and educating employees on the importance of staying hydrated. By doing so, employers contribute to a healthier and safer working environment for all.
At CoolerAid we understand the importance of staying hydrated, especially in the workplace. Our range of water coolers offers clean, filtered, and chilled water at your fingertips, making it easy for you and your team to stay on top of your game. Whether you're looking for sleek and stylish designs for your office or reliable solutions for your staffroom, we have the perfect water cooler to suit your needs. Get in touch with us here.