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Do You Need Separate Porta Potties for Men and Women on Your Construction Site?

August 31, 2016

If you’re starting a new construction project, portable restrooms will probably be one of the first things you’re going to order. With the growing number of women working in the construction industry, you may ask yourself “Do I need to provide separate porta potties for my male and female workers?” In the following article we’re going to discuss the OSHA regulations for providing restrooms for your workers, answer the question of gendered restrooms on construction sites, and go over some options to help your female construction workers feel more comfortable.

OSHA Requirements for Restrooms on Your Construction Site

Before we talk about the requirements for gendered portable restrooms on the construction site, lets just give a quick overview on your obligations to provide restrooms to all of your employees. OSHA requires that you provide one restroom if you have 20 less workers on site. If you have more than 20 workers, you should provide one toilet seat and 1 urinal per 40 workers on site. The chart below highlights the qualifications.

 

The above are the OSHA requirements for portable restrooms, but the Portable Sanitation Association International recommends providing one portable restroom for every 10 workers on the jobsite to prevent overuse. These portable restrooms should be placed in a safe area that is easily accessible for workers. Restrooms also must be located within 10 minutes from where they’ll be performing their job duties. Porta potties on your construction site should also be cleaned and serviced no less than one time per week to ensure cleanliness. You are also required to provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations.

Do I Need Separate Male and Female Porta Potties
to Comply with OSHA Standards?

So you know that you have to provide access to restrooms for your construction site, but do you need separate porta potties for your female workers? According to OSHA 1915.88(d)(1)(ii)(A) regular portable restrooms already meet the requirements that are set out for gendered bathrooms on the jobsite. According to this statute:

“The number of toilets provided for each sex shall be based on the maximum number of employees of that sex present at the worksite at any one time during a workshift. A single-occupancy toilet room shall be counted as one toilet regardless of the number of toilets it contains; and 1915.88(d)(1)(ii)(B) does not have to provide separate toilet facilities for each sex when they will not be occupied by more than one employee at a time, can be locked from the inside and contain at lease one toilet.”

So standard porta potties that you usually see on construction sites meet these standards because they are single-occupancy toilet rooms that won’t be occupied by more than one employee at a time. Portable restrooms can also be locked from the inside and have only one toilet inside. If you’re providing the correct number of portable restrooms for your job site, you’re meeting the gendered restroom requirements set out by OSHA.

Further Restroom Requirements for Job Sites That Porta Potties Meet

One further regulation that standard portable restrooms can meet for your employees is 1915.88(d)(1)(i). This has to do with restroom privacy and states that restrooms should “Provide privacy at all times. When a toilet facility contains more than one toilet, each toilet shall occupy a separate compartment with a door and walls or partitions that are sufficiently high to ensure privacy.”

Standard construction portable restrooms only contain one toilet per unit, so they meet this requirement. Providing a simple portable restroom on your job site will meet all of the OSHA requirements for sanitation and restrooms for your workers.

On top of these regulations, you should also make sure that the portable restrooms on your construction site are placed in a well-lit location that is easy to access for all workers on site. You don’t want your male or female workers feeling unsafe when using the restroom facilities at work.

Trends in the Construction Industry for Women’s Restrooms

While your standard construction portable restrooms will meet all of the legal OSHA requirements for restrooms on your construction site, some construction managers have decided to go above and beyond to make sure their female and male workers feel comfortable on the job site. Below are just a few things that we’ve seen gaining popularity on sites in the past few years.

  • Using Enhanced Access Restrooms

Some construction managers and job superintendents have been ordering larger enhanced access portable restrooms in order to make women feel more comfortable. Enhanced Access portable restrooms have a larger area inside that may provide women more space and comfort when using the restroom facilities.

  • Providing Separate Male and Female Portable Restrooms

While we just established that you don’t need separate male and female porta potties on your construction site, some construction site managers have decided to provide these gendered restrooms anyway. Having these designated female restrooms make women more comfortable when using the facilities. The more comfortable your female workers feel when using the facilities, the less inclined they’ll be from delaying trips to the restroom.

  • Renting Hand Washing Stations for Your Construction Site

While providing hand sanitizer inside your portable restrooms does take care of the hand washing requirements for your construction site, many job superintendents are renting hand-washing stations to make their female workers feel more comfortable. These portable hand-washing stations are usually foot pump operated and can be placed on your construction site near the portable restrooms.

  • Installing Fresh Flush Mobile Systems in Job Trailers

Most construction sites have a job trailer permanently stationed on site throughout the job and most of them have toilet and sink facilities inside. Though these restrooms usually aren’t hooked up to a sewer system, there is a way to make these restroom facilities operational. The Fresh Flush Mobile Office restroom system hooks up these stationary restroom facilities to pump systems, fresh water tanks and grey water tanks in order to make them functioning restrooms. You can also partner them with a hot running water hand SaniSink. By using the Fresh Flush Mobile System with a SaniSink, the men and women on your job site will get a much cleaner experience day-to-day.

  • Renting Restroom Trailers for Construction Site

Another thing that is becoming more and more common on construction sites is renting restroom trailers for workers and staff on site. These restroom trailers are separate trailers that hook up to a water source and electrical source in order to provide flushing restrooms and running water sinks to the users. These trailers have become more and more common on construction sites with more women working in the construction industry. Restroom trailers can be useful on longer-term construction sites that have a large staff on site.

So to wrap up, you don’t need to rent separate porta potties for men and women on your construction site. Since standard portable restrooms are one-stall restrooms and can lock from the inside, they meet all OSHA requirements. Even though standard porta potties do meet the requirements, there are so many more things you can do to let the women on your construction team feel more comfortable such as providing: gendered bathrooms, hand washing stations, enhanced access restrooms, fresh flush systems and restrooms trailers.

On Site Companies is a supplier of portable restroom rentals for both construction and special events in the Minneapolis / St. Paul, Rochester and Mankato, Minnesota areas, as well as St. Louis, MO. If you have any further questions about construction restroom options give us a call at 651-429-3781 or email us at sales@onsiteco.com.

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