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Does your construction site meet welfare standards? Binning the taboo of male incontinence

Chris Ivey, THSP’s Health and Safety Consultant Director, attended the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NDFC) London & Southern Regional meeting on 24/11/2023, where Matt Greenly from the HSE took the stage as one of the speakers. The focus of the discussion was welfare standards within the construction industry, specifically addressing male urinary incontinence and the pivotal role of sanitary bins on construction sites.

Matt shed light on a critical issue affecting a significant portion of the workforce. According to a report by phs Group and Prostate Cancer UK, titled ‘Binning the Taboo’, a staggering 51% of the surveyed men in the construction industry had experienced symptoms associated with urinary incontinence.

Given the physically demanding nature of manual roles in construction, men in these positions often face increased vulnerability to urinary leakage compared to their counterparts in sedentary professions. This vulnerability can lead to the need for more frequent product changes and the potential for stress and anxiety when adequate facilities are lacking.

The question arises – How many sanitary bins should a construction site have?

The answer extends beyond functionality to a matter of discretion. Enough sanitary bins should be provided so that it’s not obvious should someone be using them. A general guideline suggests that every other toilet should be equipped with a bin, and in taller structures, toilets on every other floor should provide access to sanitary bins.

HSE Inspectors are gearing up to assess the provision of sanitary bins in the coming months and Inadequate provision will trigger enforcement actions.

Welfare standards serve as a litmus test for the overall quality of a construction site. Inadequate welfare provision not only attracts HSE inspectors, but HSE inspectors are likely to stay longer and look deeper.

For any enquiries regarding the number of bins needed or how to improve the welfare of your workforce, call THSP on 03456 122 144, and let’s ensure your construction site stands out not just for its productivity but for its commitment to the well-being of every worker.