Osha requirements for a bathroom

Written by april miller
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Osha requirements for a bathroom
OSHA regulates rest rooms in the workplace. (Public Restroom image by TekinT from Fotolia.com)

The Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets regulations for rest rooms in the workplace. These regulations ensure that all workplace bathrooms remain safe, sanitary and easily accessible. However, the specific rules on regulating the rest rooms in a certain workplace often depend on the type of workplace and number and gender of employed persons.

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Toilets

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 rest room 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.

Availability

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 rest room. OSHA does not define "timely" as this can vary per the type of work the individual does, the urgency of the work he is engaged in, and the distance the rest room is from the place of work. The timeliness and amount an individual uses the rest room can vary per employer. Certain medical conditions must be taken into consideration when an employer determines the frequency that an individual may use the rest room such as; prostate issues, pregnancy, and bladder control issues.

Mobile Employees

Employers who employ only mobile or travelling 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.

Water Conditions

All employee rest rooms must have hot and cold running water, or at least tepid (lukewarm) running water. Each rest room must also have soap for employee use.

Gender Guidelines

OSHA states that separate rest room 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, the business with 15 or fewer employees can have a one-person, unisex rest room, permitting that it locks and contains at least one toilet.

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