Unless you work in the sanitation industry (or write a blog!) you probably don’t give much thought to the temporary sanitation you see every day. In fact, there’s a good chance you don’t even notice all the porta potties and other sanitation services around you. And, in a way, that’s good! Because really, when most […]
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) likes to keep you on your toes by regularly updating and revising its standards, regulations and compliances for healthy working conditions. When it comes to safety and sanitation, OSHA’s constant changes makes ensuring that your construction sites are up to code a cumbersome task. Furthermore, the details and provisions of the regulations differ from state-to-state. The best way to make sure you site is OSHA compliant is to make a habit out of checking for OSHA updates. At On Site, we take pride in providing you with all of the information and resources you need to complete your construction jobs safely and on schedule. Today, we’re going to do that by giving you the latest rundown of OSHA’s rules and regulations when it comes to bathrooms at construction sites.
OSHA’s Bathroom and Sanitation Requirements
First and foremost, OSHA requires employers to provide all workers with sanitary and immediate availability to toilet facilities. Unsanitary restrooms expose employees to potentially suffering adverse health effects. Additionally, OSHA states that employers must:
- Provide an adequate number of restrooms for the size of the workforce to prevent long lines.
- Do not impose unreasonable restrictions on restroom use.
- Ensure restrictions, such as locking doors or requiring workers to sign out a key, do not cause extended delays.
- Allow workers to leave their work locations to use a restroom when needed.
- Toilets should provide privacy, including locking systems, and should be separated by gender.
- Toilets should be well lit, ventilated, and in a secure area.
- Provide soap and water and/or antibacterial hand cleansers,
- Individual hand towels, air blowers or clean individual sections of continuous toweling.
- Trash cans for disposal of hand towels and feminine hygiene products.
You may have to supply additional requirements for certain employees. For example, mobile workers must be provided with readily available transportation that allows prompt access (less than 10 minutes) to a restroom if the location they are working at doesn’t contain an available toilet. Additionally, OSHA recently published a Best Practices publication pertaining to transgender workers.
Number of Bathrooms
Per OSHA standards, employers with 20 or fewer employers must provide one toilet to their workers. Employers with 20 or more employees must provide one toilet and one urinal per 40 workers. If an employer has 200 or more employees, one toilet and one urinal is required for every 50 employees.
These standards represent the bare minimum employers must provide to their employees. Based on the type of work, this minimum number of toilets may cause you to fail to meet other requirements such as long lines and long waits for bathroom use. In our experience, it’s better to provide one toilet per 10 employees. You can see our construction site usage chart to help you pin down the appropriate number of toilets you’ll need to stay in compliance with OSHA.
To eliminate long lines and excessive waiting periods, as a general rule, you should pick up one restroom unit for every ten employees that are working at the site. After you’ve tallied up the number of workers you have, always round up to the nearest multiple of ten. (For example, if you have 34 employees, then round that number up to 40.) This step will ensure that you have a sufficient number of units for your workers, which will boost team morale, increase productivity and cut down on costs. Furthermore, there are several factors that influence how often employees may need to use the bathroom, including certain medications, fluid intake and even the temperature of the air. So it’s always a good idea to provide more toilets than you think you need to account for them.
OSHA’s State-Specific Regulations
State Plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs that are operated by individual states (as opposed to federal OSHA). These plans allow each state to develop and operate its own unique health, safety and sanitation programs and policies. As of now, 26 U.S. states or territories have incorporated OSHA-approved State Plans.
It’s imperative for employers to review the details of their state’s specific plan to learn about your area’s job site sanitation requirements. To do so, just head to this page, find the map at the bottom and click on your state of operation. Contact information for that state’s OSHA department and links to its specific State Plan will appear to the right of the map.
If you’re having trouble finding your State Plan or need additional info or advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to connect you with any resources you need.
Portable Restrooms From On Site
Did this post alert you that your construction site is failing to comply with OSHA’s regulations? We’re here to help. We can provide your construction business with a variety of high quality and cost-effective porta potties and portable hand washing stations for any type of construction job. One of our more popular options is the Standard Construction Portable Restroom, a unit designed to withstand day-to-day use and resist harsh weather conditions.
Finally, if you have any questions about construction sanitation requirements in your state or can’t decide on which portable units to rent for your project, call or message us today. We look forward to working with you soon.