What is a Welfare Van?
A Welfare Van, also known as a “Welfare Unit” or “Mess Van” is the term used to describe a mobile general amenities vehicle.
A Welfare Van will commonly be fitted out to provide
The simplest way to define the Welfarevan, is as a vehicle that provides the comforts you would expect to have in a work place. This in part is what lead to the development of Welfare/Mess Vans. Where in industries like construction, infrastructure, utilities etc company employees could be working in environments where basic amenities are difficult to or unable to be provided.
One of the most recognisable Welfare Units are the fleet operated by Network Rail. These are often seen in areas where maintenance is carried out across the UKs rail network.
Do I need to provide a welfare van?
If you or your employees are working in an environment where no toilet, hot water or canteen facility is already provided. Then the answer is quite likely “yes”.
’If you employ anyone (however short the period) you must ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, provide adequate and appropriate welfare facilities for them while they are at work.‘
**Important For Employers**
In the UK employers have a legal obligation under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 to ensure that basic facilities such as, washing, toilet, rest and changing facilities as well as somewhere safe to eat and drink during break periods is provided.
Schedule 2 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) lists the welfare facilities that should be in place at any site.
What should I look out for in a Welfare Van?
As listed earlier the key elements to look for in your next Welfare Van are:
- Hot Running Water
That’s not an exhaustive list, and here at Van World as a second stage manufacturer we can tailor your Mess or Welfare Van to your needs.
This can include:
- Multi Toilet Facilities
- Hot and Cold Running Water
- Covid Screens
- Tow Bars
- Parking Sensors
- Butterfly Steps
You may wonder why do I require more than one toilet choice. Where there is more than a single gender of employee on site, some employers elect to provide separate toilet facilities in a single Welfare Unit.
Welfare Vans can be put to diverse use, we’ve been asked previously to produce a mobile medical vehicle, with toilet facilities. If you think you may need a bespoke solution, we’re happy to advise.
Our guidance would be, that when purchasing or hiring a new Welfare Van for your fleet to consider:
- Who will be using it?
- What will they need?
Who uses Welfare Vans:
Welfare Vans are used across a number of industries, but are most commonly found in:
- Emergency Response Services
It may seem like common sense that you’d find Welfare Vans in these sectors. They’re industries whose hours of operation can be outside the 9 to 5 and regularly operate in hazardous conditions; not least the challenging UK Weather.
We also find that Welfare Vans are Hired by those who have short term 3 to 6 month projects where mobility is a requirement, like survey teams, filming crews and Abseil inspection teams.
In short, we come back to the point of:
Throughout the UK as part of a move to decrease the pollutants in the air and improve air quality overall, areas have been identified where a levy has to be paid on vehicles which do not meet the emissions standards of:
Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicle
These are designated: Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ)
How easy to operate is a Welfare Van?
With our clearly labelled operation instructions and control panels, we consider our Welfare units to be user friendly.
Easy to operate Control Panel
However, you can make quite simple mistakes when operating your Welfare Van, here are a few things to consider:
Fresh Water Reservoir: Ensure that you fill the correct water reservoir in the Welfare Van with fresh water. We have carried out maintenance on used welfare vans where chemicals have been added to the Fresh Water Reservoir that were intended to supply the toilet cassette. You can imagine that was an unpleasant discovery for the operator.
Toilet Flush Reservoir: If your Welfare Van operates a flush system to the cassette toilet, it will have its own separate water or chemical reservoir.
We now have a great guide on how to empty your welfare van toilet entitled: How to empty your Welfare Van Toilet.
We’re happy to receive questions about your Welfare Van and if you have any please contact us.