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Every employer has a duty to protect the welfare of their employees, so, to help you do just that, we’ve put together a list of considerations for those working in a care home environment.
Toilets, wash and changing facilities
By law, you need to provide enough toilets and wash facilities for the maximum number of people who could be at work at any one time. Under the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) requirements, you should have:
|Number of employees||Number of toilets/basins needed|
|1 – 6 employees||1 x toilet and 1 x basin|
|6 – 25 employees||2 x toilets and 2 x basins|
|26 – 150 employees||3 x toilets and 3 x basins|
It’s not enough to just provide the facilities though, you must ensure they’re clean, properly lit and ventilated at all times, and that you have a supply to hot and cold water, soap, drying facilities and adequate sanitary disposal units.
Do you need to separate male and female facilities?
Unless the whole facility is in one, lockable room, for one person to use at a time, you should have separate facilities for men and women.
In some cases, if your care home is particularly small, for example, it’s acceptable for employees to share facilities with residents, but in general, it’s best practice to have separate toilet facilities.
Due to the nature of care homes, employees will sometimes need to change into their uniform on-site, so it’s important that you provide areas for changing, too.
Rest facilities should be provided so that your employees have somewhere to take breaks and eat meals. Your rest facility should include things like:
You’ll need to make arrangements to protect non-smoking residents, workers and visitors from the health risks of second-hand smoke. To do this, you could consider things like designated smoking areas, proper ventilation and keeping non-smoking staff out of smoking areas – even when they’re caring for smoking residents. To find out more about this, watch our video on smoking and fire in care homes.
There are a number of regulations in place to protect the rights of workers when it comes to working time. Basic Working Time regulations state
If any of your employees are young workers (workers who are between school leaving age and 18 years-old) the regulations are slightly different:
These special rights also apply to young people on work experience. You can find out more about employing school leavers here.
Night work can’t be avoided within the care industry but, as an employer, you have a duty to make sure your workers are fit for working overnight. First and foremost, if an employee’s going to work nights, you’ll need to offer them a free health assessment that’s written by a qualified health professional. Your workers don’t have to accept this, but you must offer it, along with repeat assessments.
New and expectant mothers
There are a number of special measures you’ll need to take into consideration when an employee either informs you that they’re pregnant or returns to work after having a baby – special risk assessments, which should be regularly reviewed as circumstances change, for example.
For more information on employing new and expectant mothers, read our guide on it here.
If a worker’s injured or taken ill while working, you have a duty to make sure that basic first aid can be provided. Care homes are classed as medium risk environments, which means the following number of employees must be first aid trained by law:
|Number of employees||First aid requirements|
|Less than five employees||At least one appointed first aider|
|5 – 50 employees||At least one first aider who is trained in either First Aid at Work, or Emergency First Aid at Work|
|More than 50 employees||At least one first aider, trained in First Aid at Work, for every 50 employees.|
Got a question?
If you’ve got any questions on any of your staff welfare and/or facilities responsibilities, then our Health & Safety experts are on hand to help. Simply get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org to start getting support today.
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