The Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets regulations for restrooms in the workplace. These regulations ensure that all workplace bathrooms remain safe, sanitary and easily accessible. However, the specific rules on regulating the restrooms in a certain workplace often depend on the type of workplace and number and gender of employed persons.
A workplace must have a minimum of one toilet for one to 15 employees, two for 16 to 35 employees, three for 36 to 55 employees, four for 56 to 80 employees, five for 81 to 110 employees and six for 111 to 150 employees. Workplaces with more than 150 employees must provide six toilets, plus one additional toilet for each 40 employees over 150. In men’s restroom facilities, some toilets may be replaced by urinals; however, the number of full-sized toilets may not fall below two-thirds of the total required units.
Employees must have access to a bathroom facility in a timely manner. Employees should not have to wait any extended period of time to use a toilet. OSHA does not regulate any issues pertaining to an employee remaining “on” or “off” the clock while using the restroom. OSHA does not define "timely" as this can vary according to the type of work the individual does, the urgency of the work he is engaged in, and the distance the restroom is from the place of work. The timeliness and amount an individual uses the restroom can vary per employer. Certain medical conditions must be taken into consideration when an employer determines the frequency that an individual may use the restroom such as; prostate issues, pregnancy, and bladder control issues.
Employers who employ only mobile or traveling employees (construction workers, building inspectors, taxi cab drivers, etc.) do not have the same regulations as those who employ individuals based at a single location. OSHA requires that “employees working at these [mobile] locations have transportation immediately available to nearby toilet facilities which meet the other requirements." This means that, at any given moment, an employee must be able to take a break and have transportation to a location with an available restroom facility.
All employee restrooms must have hot and cold running water, or at least tepid (lukewarm) running water. Each restroom must also have soap for employee use.
OSHA states that separate restroom facilities designated for men and women (given that at least one member of each sex is employed at the business) must be available in the workplace. However, a business with 15 or fewer employees can have a one-person, unisex restroom, permitting that it locks and contains at least one toilet.