An adequate potable water supply should be provided to everyone in their workplace, whether the weather is hot or not. Even when working outdoors, you have a right to clean drinking water.
So, is it a legal requirement to have hot water at work? As an employee, you have legal rights to certain welfare facilities at your place of work, and clean water is one of them.
As the employer, you must ensure that the water containers are always well enclosed to prevent contamination.
If your office has a water dispenser, ensure it’s regularly cleaned and tested for contamination. You don’t want the unit to become the breeding ground for bacteria.
Additionally, if the dispenser is supplied with renewable water bottles, ensure that the person replacing them has manual training. These bottles can weigh up to 20kg.
What's in this Guide?
Why Should You Have Access to Clean Water at Work?
Cleanliness is important both at work and home. For example, you need water to clean your hands after handling machines, materials, and substances, after visiting the toilet, and before eating.
Regular handwashing keeps you safe as it reduces germs after coming into contact with dirty materials or hazardous substances.
Additionally, in the cold winter months, you don’t want to wash your hands with cold water, right? It’s not only uncomfortable but can be painful as well.
What Does the Law Say About Hot Water at Work?
Health and safety laws are in place to protect the health and safety of workers. They place a range of responsibilities on employers who must ensure that their team is well protected and works in a safe environment.
Some of the legal requirements are the need to look at the welfare of their employees by providing facilities like toilets, showers, changing rooms, sinks, canteens, rest areas, and clean drinking water.
In fact, the Workplace Regulations 1992 set out what should be provided, when it should be provided, and where it should be provided.
This set of regulations includes the provision of hot water within washing facilities.
The regulations demand that washing facilities be provided at accessible places. In addition, an employer must avail hot and cold or warm water near the toilets.
Even if the place of work is temporary (like a construction site), hot water must be provided to the workers. It doesn’t matter how big or small a project is.
Construction work is dirty, and washing your hands with hot water will aid the removal of contaminants from your skin. That’s why it’s important to provide suitable washing facilities on-site.
Additionally, it sometimes gets icy when working outdoors, especially during the winter months. Washing your hands with warm water will keep them warm.
It’ll keep the workers comfortable, enable them to warm up during breaks, and keep them productive and happy when working.
How About Hot Drinking Water?
Hot water is clean water. Although it might not be 100% pure, it’s safer for drinking.
Hot drinking water needs to be available for employees as well. It comes in handy during tea and lunch breaks. But, of course, your staff can always prepare instant tea or coffee if they want.
A glass of hot water also goes a long way in killing cold during cold seasons.
Before setting up a new workplace, you need to ensure that there’s enough supply of hot running water. Workers have the legal right to access hot water, as they need it for drinking and cleaning.
As an employer, if you don’t provide the water to your staff, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Even in the event of a breakdown, you need to have alternative methods in place to ensure that your team has hot water throughout.