Toilet Requirements in Commercial Buildings
Whether you have a clothing store, a factory or a consulting agency, it's necessary to meet workplace requirements. Everything from your office to the waiting room must comply with the law. Toilet facilities are no exception. The building's restrooms must be clean and support employee health. Furthermore, they need to meet OSHA's sanitation standards. Any issue could result in heavy fines.
Unless you have 15 or fewer employees, the building you rent or buy must have separate restrooms for men and women. Recently, OSHA has released a publication describing the best practices on restroom access for transgender workers. Employers can either opt for gender-neutral facilities or allow transgender workers to use the restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
How many toilets are required depends on the number of employees. If your company has 15 or fewer employees, they must have access to one unisex restroom with a locking door. Organizations with 16-to-35 employees need at least two toilets. Those with 56-to-80 employees need to have four restrooms.
The more employees you have, the more toilets are required. These numbers vary depending on the type of facility. The Restroom American Association, for instance, requires factories and industrial buildings to have at least one water closet for every 100 workers.
These practices aim to prevent long lines and ensure that employees have prompt access to restroom facilities. Also, companies are required to allow workers to leave their offices to use the toilet when needed. If the restrooms are used only by men, you may substitute up to one-third of toilets with urinals.
Consider choosing a multi-toilet restroom if you expect to hire more people due to company growth. In case you have a construction site, farm or another facility where restrooms are not available on site, it's required to provide one less than 10 minutes away.
Also, remember to install an ADA-compliant accessible stall for workers with disabilities. This must allow a 60 inch clearance area for wheelchairs, be 59 inches deep and feature grab bars at least 42 inches long on the side wall and 32 inches long on the rear wall. The toilet should sit 17 to 19 inches from the ground and be 16 to 18 inches from the side wall.
OSHA requires employers to ensure privacy in the restroom. If you opt for single-toilet restrooms, make sure they can be locked from the inside. Multi-toilet facilities should have partitions that are high enough to provide privacy. Beware that urinals don't count toward the minimum number of toilets.
A dirty restroom can affect employee health and lead to contamination. Maintaining your restrooms and toilet facilities are clean is paramount. They must be free of insects, mice and other vermin. In case their presence is detected, it's required to implement a continuing extermination plan.
OSHA also states that waste and garbage should be removed safely. Furthermore, each restroom must have one or more hand- washing stations to reduce the risks of spreading infections and germs. Soap, air dryers, hand towels and running water need to be available at all times. Employees are not allowed to eat or drink in the restroom.
Some types of facilities, such as factories or auto repair centers, require showering facilities. As an employer, you must provide at least one shower with hot and cold water for every 10 workers of each gender.
These requirements for the workplace have a role in protecting employees' health and ensuring their privacy. Following them is mandatory. Violations of federal health and safety standards will cost you a lot more, so make sure you comply with the law.