Standards that govern the availability and maintenance of toilets in the workplace help prevent adverse health effects to both workers and the public. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets these guidelines.
Construction Job Sites
At construction job sites, one toilet must be provided per 20 employees in a workplace. In a workplace with between 21 and 199 employees, a toilet seat and one urinal must be provided for every 40 employees. For 200 or more workers, OSHA regulations call for a toilet seat and a urinal per 50 workers. The toilet must be located within a 1/4 mile walk of the employees, or if that is not feasible, the toilet must be at the closest point for vehicular access. The toilet must be 'nearby', which means it must be sufficiently close that workers can use it when they need to, in less than 10 minutes. This is important for mobile crews, workers who continually move from job site to job site on either an hourly or daily basis.
For toilet facilities that are located within permanent places of employment, a minimum of one water closet is required for 1 to 15 employees. A 'water closet' is defined as a toilet, which can be used for both defecation and urination, and can be flushed with water. Two water closets must be provided for 16 to 35 employees; three water closets for 36 to 55 employees; four water closets for 56 to 80 employees; five water closets for 81 to 100 employees; and six water closets for 111 to 150 employees.
OSHA regulations call for fixed or portable toilets to have separate compartments and outfitted with latch-equipped doors that lock from the inside of the compartment. Separate toilet facilities must be provided for males and females. The exception to this would be when toilet rooms are designed to be occupied by only one person at a time.
Read More: OSHA Toilet Requirements
Job sites that are not equipped with a sanitary sewer must, unless prohibited by local codes, provide privies, in locations where their use will not contaminate either ground or surface water. A privy is a toilet facility that is commonly known as an outhouse. Other alternatives to a privy could be chemical toilets, recirculating toilets, or combustion toilets. Toilets should be cleaned regularly and maintained in good order, as outlined in OSHA's rules. Running water, including hot and cold or tepid water, must be provided along with soap and individual hand towels, clean individual sections of continuous toweling, or warm air blowers.
Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.