Water for Employees - Does the Employer Have to Provide It?

Water for Employees - Does the Employer Have to Provide It?

One of the important issues concerning the topic of health and well-being in the workplace is access to water for employees, and more specifically, whether the employer is obliged to provide water to his team. If so, what conditions must be met beforehand. We check what the regulations say on the subject. Find out!

Water for employees - regulations

Water is not only necessary for life, but also affects the efficiency of the duties performed and helps maintain good health. Occupational health and safety regulations (Regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of September 26, 1997, paragraph 112) require employers to provide employees with easy access - free of charge - to safe and drinkable water. What does this mean?

Water is considered drinkable when it does not contain pathogens and parasites in amounts that could endanger human health, and is free of any substances in concentrations that could pose a health risk. In addition, it should not exhibit corrosive properties and must meet the microbiological and chemical standards set by regulations issued by the Minister of Health on the quality of drinking water.

In addition, the place with such water may be a maximum of 75 meters from workplaces.

Importantly, the employer cannot pay an allowance if he fails to fulfill his obligation to provide water to employees. If there is no access to drinking water at the workplace, he must provide an alternative solution for storing water, for example, by setting up a water dispenser or vending machine.

Can tap water be served to employees?

Serving tap water to employees is acceptable and widely practiced, provided it meets the quality standards for drinking water set by the relevant regulatory authorities.

The decisive aspect is to vouch that the water is safe to drink and does not pose a health risk to those who consume it. To this end, employers must regularly monitor water quality by testing for harmful bacteria, heavy metals and other contaminants.

In some cases where water quality is questionable, employers choose to install additional water filtration systems or water treatment equipment.

In addition, tap water, as the most economical and environmentally friendly solution, supports sustainable practices in the workplace, reducing the need for bottled plastic water and associated waste. Providing access to clean, potable tap water is therefore not only a matter of meeting legal requirements, but also an expression of the employer's concern for employee health and the environment.

Does an employer have to provide water to employees?

As we have already mentioned, under the law the employer is obliged to provide access to water. This obligation is universal and applies to employers in all sectors - both in office environments and in workplaces requiring physical exertion or exposure to special environmental conditions.

It is also worth mentioning that providing water to employees is not only a matter of compliance with the law, but also an element of building a positive work environment in which employees feel valued and their well-being is taken care of.

Refreshments for employees working in particularly arduous conditions

Employers whose employees perform tasks in particularly arduous conditions have an additional obligation to adjust the type and temperature of beverages to the specifics of the work - this is necessary for preventive reasons. Providing adequate beverages significantly affects thermal comfort, productivity and safety of employees.

When should cold beverages be provided?

Cold beverages - not only water, but isotonic drinks, for example - are essential when work is performed in high temperatures (above 25 degrees Celsius) or with high physical exertion, especially outdoors during the hot months. It's also important, especially when workers wear heavy protective gear or clothing that can further insulate heat and impede skin breathing.

Cool fluids help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating and heat stroke. Providing cold beverages is especially important in industries such as construction, agriculture or manufacturing, where conditions can promote rapid dehydration.

When should warm beverages be provided?

In turn, it is also equally important to provide warm beverages to employees, especially during winter periods or in work environments where temperatures are low (below 10 degrees Celsius).

Warm beverages - tea, coffee or broth - help keep the body warm and prevent hypothermia. This is especially important for people who work outdoors, in cold warehouses or on construction sites, where low temperatures can negatively affect manual dexterity, concentration and general well-being. Regular consumption of warm liquids in such conditions helps maintain proper body temperature and improve comfort in their duties.

Water for office workers

Finally, it is worthwhile to lean on a specific group of employees - those who work in offices. While it may seem that office work does not expose one to extreme environmental conditions, access to fresh and clean water is essential for maintaining concentration, work efficiency and well-being. In addition, in the summer, it can get really hot in non-air-conditioned spaces.

In the context of office work, employers often choose to install water dispensers or filters (located a maximum of 75 meters from workstations). This is a convenient solution that encourages employees to hydrate regularly.

Now you know what the employer's responsibilities are and why he must provide water for employees.


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