Is Hot Water At Work A Legal Requirement For Employers?
Posted on May 9th 2022 by Matt Stimpson
While we all go to work to do our job and get paid for it, all employers have an obligation to provide certain things for employees by law. Collective legislation covering health, safety, and welfare issues gives all staff a legal right to expect certain facilities in the workplace. And one of the most searched questions by people is whether providing hot water at work is a legal requirement. Let’s find out…
Hot water really is an employer requirement
As with most things in life, if something is required by law to be provided to people and it isn’t – whether to the general public or employees – it will probably have legal consequences. We all have legal rights when it comes to our welfare and if companies don't meet that expectation, it can result in fines or legal action.
While providing hot running water in the workplace might seem like a bit of a luxury, in fact, it’s very much a statutory requirement as set out in the government’s Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. This document lays out the legal requirements and responsibilities that all employers must abide by and includes rulings on essentials like maintenance, ventilation, lighting, sanitation – and hot water – among many others.
So why is hot water important?
Hygiene and cleanliness are top priorities at work and regular handwashing with soap is an effective, easy, and important way to protect against illness and transmission of dirt and bacteria. In Section 21 of the document, Washing Facilities, the regs state that:
“suitable and sufficient washing facilities… shall be provided at readily accessible places… washing facilities shall not be suitable unless…they include a supply of clean hot and cold, or warm, water (which shall be running water so far as is practicable)”.
But the government document sets out that hot water is legally required to be supplied by employers. So whether you’re handling certain materials or substances, coming into contact with food, or after using the toilet facilities, having hot water, and plenty of soap, to wash your hands is essential. While there’s no official evidence that hot water is better than cold for handwashing, it’s thought that hot water is better at removing grease and oil that could harbour more bacteria.
How about hot drinking water?
As employers are required to have hot water then it would be accessible in both washing and kitchen facilities. But hot tap water isn't really used to make office teas or coffees unless to hasten the process of boiling the kettle. A far more economic way of getting hot water for drinks and snacks is to install a mains fed hot water dispenser.
Hot water on demand from Thirsty Work
While Thirsty Work can’t do much to ensure all employers supply hot water, we can definitely supply a cost-effective and energy-efficient hot water dispenser for your employees. For more information about our countertop and wall-mounted models, as well as our service packages, call us on 01392 877 172 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today, to get your free quote or to start your 10-day free trial.