According to the Bladder & Bowel Community, people visit the bathroom an average of six to seven times each day. Since construction professionals typically spend eight hours on the project site during a normal shift, they’re inevitably going to need to excuse themselves for a bathroom break. During mid-day shifts, when the sun is beating down on workers as they exert themselves physically, regular hydration is vital to keeping workers safe and healthy. Dehydration can lead to nausea, heat stroke, or even fainting, but when workers drink more water, they also have to utilize the bathroom more frequently.
As a contractor, it’s important that you provide the right amount of portable bathrooms to facilitate your workers’ needs on the project site. Failing to observe the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) 29 CFR 1926.51, which covers matters related to workplace sanitation, including lavatories, could result in an OSHA citation. If you’ve received an OSHA citation, consult a construction law attorney in Franklin, TN, for assistance with OSHA defense and other legal services.
OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926.51
At some point during the workday, one of your workers is going to need to use the bathroom. This seemingly simple action can lead to an OSHA violation if you fail to furnish the appropriate number of toilets. 29 CFR 1926.51 states that “lavatories shall be made available in all places of employment.”
This includes the construction site, which often requires on-site portable toilets to counteract the lack of available, permanent restrooms. It’s fortunate that OSHA approves the use of basic portable toilets, as the cost of hiring and hosting portable bathroom trailers is typically much greater. While procuring OSHA-compliant bathroom facilities is a relatively painless process, it’s important that you have accurate data covering the number of workers on your project site so you can supply the approved quantity of restrooms. 29 CFR 1926.51 stipulates that:
- For project sites with twenty workers or less, only one toilet is required.
- For project sites with more than twenty workers, one toilet seat and one urinal are required for every forty workers.
- For project sites with more than two hundred workers, one toilet seat and one urinal are required for every fifty workers.
Although maintaining compliance with OSHA’s guidelines will help you avoid a citation, many contractors opt to facilitate additional facilities to avoid bathroom lines and dead time on the project site. Published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ANSI/PSAI Z4.3-2016 (Sanitation – Nonsewered Waste-Disposal Systems – Minimum Requirements), is another approved standard with more stringent requirements:
- One toilet facility per every ten employees.
- When serviced more than one per week, one toilet facility per every fifteen employees.
These guidelines also stipulate that, since there are separate facilities for male and female workers, there should be one toilet for every ten male or female workers, respectively. However, unlike OSHA, ANSI/PSAI Z4.3-2016 includes no specifications regarding the placement or type of bathroom facilities that should be used.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.