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One fifth of construction sites have inadequate toilets

29 January 2018

A survey of over 3,500 Unite members working in the construction sector has found that many are forced to endure substandard toilets and washroom facilities.

The survey found that on 17 per cent of sites men and women were forced to share toilet as there were no separate facilities for women workers.

Despite construction invariably involving dirty, hot and physical work over half of respondents (51 per cent) said that their workplace did not have any showers. Even when showers were provided in 16 per cent of cases there were no separate showers for women.

Even where showers and toilets were provided there remain issues about their cleanliness. In three per cent of cases respondents said that showers and toilets were never cleaned while in 8 per cent of cases they were only cleaned weekly.

The supply of water on sites was also a major concern: 17 per cent did not have drinking water, while 14 per cent did not even supply cold water, 22 per cent of sites did not provide hot water and 10 per cent of sites did not supply toilet paper.

Respondents also expressed concern about the cleanliness of canteen and mess facilities. In four per cent of cases they were never cleaned, while in six per cent of cases these facilities were only cleaned on a weekly basis.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail 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."