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SAFETY BLOG

Sanitation on the Construction Jobsite

Jobsite sanitation is important to the health of your employees. Clean drinking water, toilets, and washing facilities, are regulated by OSHA.

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Drinking water

You must provide adequate drinking water at all construction sites no matter how many employees are working. You comply with the following:

  • Potable (clean and drinkable) water must meets the standards for drinking purposes of the State or local authority having jurisdiction, or water that meets the quality standards prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR part 141).
  • Portable containers used to dispense drinking water must be capable of being tightly closed, and equipped with a tap. Water must not be dipped from containers.
  • Any container used to distribute drinking water must be clearly marked as to the nature of its contents and not used for any other purpose.
  • A single, common drinking cup for all workers to share is prohibited.
  • Disposable cups, if provided, must have both a sanitary container for the unused cups and a receptacle for disposing of the used cups.

Non-drinking water

There is often water at jobsite that is not meant to be used for drinking such as water for industrial or firefighting purposes only. This must be identified by signs meeting the requirements of OSHA’s Signs, Signals, and Barricades standard, to indicate clearly that the water is unsafe and is not to be used for drinking, washing, or cooking purposes.

Toilets

Toilets must be provided in the following numbers:

  • 20 workers of less – One toilet
  • 20 or more – 1 toilet seat and 1 urinal per 40 workers.
  • 200 or more – 1 toilet seat and 1 urinal per 50 workers.

Under temporary field conditions, not less than one toilet must be available.

For construction sites not provided with a sanitary sewer, one of the following toilet facilities must be provided unless prohibited by local codes:

  • Privies (where their use will not contaminate ground or surface water);
  • Chemical toilets;
  • Recirculating toilets;
  • Combustion toilets.

The toilet requirements for sanitation facilities do not apply to mobile crews having transportation readily available to nearby toilet facilities.

Washing facilities

If you do painting, coating, work with herbicides or insecticides, or other construction operations where contaminants may harm employees, you must provide adequate washing facilities near the worksite and make sure that they are equipped to enable employees to remove such substances.

Lavatories (sinks)

These must be available at all construction jobsites, except for mobile crews or to normally unattended work locations — if employees working at these locations have transportation readily available to nearby washing facilities.

Requirements for lavatories are:

  • Each lavatory must have hot and cold running water, or tepid running water.
  • Hand soap or similar cleansing agents must be provided.
  • Individual hand towels, warm air blowers, or clean individual sections of continuous cloth toweling must be provided.

Showers

It is also important to note that whenever showers are required by a particular standard, the showers must be as follows:

  • One shower must be provided for each 10 employees of each sex, or numerical fraction thereof, who are required to shower during the same shift.
  • Body soap or other appropriate cleansing agents convenient to the showers must be provided.
  • Showers must be provided with hot and cold water feeding a common discharge line.
  • Employees who use showers must be provided with individual clean towels.

Eating and drinking areas

No employee must be allowed to consume food or beverages in a toilet room nor in any area exposed to a toxic material.

Vermin control

Every enclosed workplace must be so constructed, equipped, and maintained, so far as reasonably practicable, as to prevent the entrance or harborage of rodents, insects, and other vermin. A continuing and effective extermination program must be instituted where their presence is detected.

Change rooms

Whenever employees are required by a particular standard to wear protective clothing because of the possibility of contamination with toxic materials, change rooms equipped with storage facilities for street clothes and separate storage facilities for the protective clothing must be provided.

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