31st January 2018

Poorly equipped building sites fail to provide toilet paper

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Construction workers of both sexes are forced to share inadequate toilets and washing facilities at work, according to research.

A survey of more than 3,500 members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, working in the construction sector has revealed that many are forced to tolerate poor facilities on one in five sites, with some workplaces not even having drinking water for staff.

The report highlighted that 17 per cent of men and women were forced to share toilets as there were no separate facilities for female members of staff and 18 per cent of respondents’ workplaces did not have adequate toilet facilities, with ten per cent of sites even failing to supply toilet paper.

Despite construction workers facing dirty, hot and physical work, more than half of respondents said that their workplace did not provide any showers. Even when showers were available, in 16 per cent of cases there were no separate showers for women.

Where showers and toilets were provided there remain issues about their cleanliness.

17 per cent did not have drinking water, 14 per cent did not even supply cold water and 22 per cent of sites did not provide hot water.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “Providing toilets and washing facilities is not a luxury they are a basic human right.

“This survey must act as a wake-up call to the construction industry. In the 21st century there is no excuse for any workplace not to provide clean and decent welfare facilities.

“Companies that fail to provide decent welfare facilities can and should be prosecuted and this is an area where Unite is working with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure standards are improved.

“Where Unite is organised on a site we will always ensure that decent welfare facilities are provided and will ensure our members take the necessary measures to ensure they are in place.”