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Similarly, toilets that are not hygienic are unusable and therefore not “available”. Therefore, a toilet is not “provided” in accordance with section 1926.51(c)(1) if it is in an unsanitary condition. One way for an employer to comply with its obligation to comply with sanitary conditions under this standard is to use the ANSI Z4.3-1995 Maintenance Plan, Section 3 (“For Sanitation – Undrained Waste Disposal Systems – Minimum Requirements”) as a guide. For example, the ANSI standard states that a toilet used by up to 10 people is maintained at least once a week1. According to Table D-1 of the OSHA standard, if there were 20 employees, the employer should provide at least one toilet. By applying the ansi maintenance plan to a situation where toilets were provided to 20 employees, an employer who had the toilet maintained twice a week would likely provide a toilet in a hygienic condition.2 Similarly, one toilet for every 10 employees, if maintained once a week, would likely be provided in a hygienic condition. The agency is aware that in recent years, there have been more than 1,100 deaths of construction workers each year due to falls, electric shocks, beatings and intermittent accidents. OSHA`s priorities in the application of construction therefore continue to focus primarily on these threats. Although the remediation risk mentioned in this letter does not fall into this category, it is nevertheless a significant problem in the construction industry and employers are required to take appropriate measures to address it.

For more information, please contact us by fax at: USA Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Building Standards and Guidelines, Fax #202-693-1689. You may also contact us by mail at the office above, room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there is a delay in receiving our correspondence by mail. Sincerely, February 23, 2005 Ms. Mary Nall [by email] Subject: Provision of washrooms for employees on a construction site. Dear Ms Nall: This is a response to your email that was sent to you on September 13. In January 2005, it was sent to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your questions relate to the provision and availability of toilets on construction sites. We have described your questions as follows: Question: Scenario: Construction workers work on the 10th floor of a high-rise building. As there are no elevators or elevators for workers, workers` access to the ground floor is only via stairs. The toilets are only located on the ground floor.

In these circumstances, would OSHA`s hygiene standard require the toilets to be placed higher up the building, or would it be considered sufficient to place them only on the ground floor? Answer: Title 29 CFR. 1926.51(c)(1) states: (c) Toilets on construction sites. (1) Toilets shall be made available to workers in accordance with the following table: OSHA requires employers to provide all workers with sanitary and immediately available toilets (toilets). The hygiene standards (29 CFR 1910.141, 29 CFR 1926.51 and 29 CFR 1928.110) are intended to ensure that workers do not suffer from any health impairment that may occur if the toilet is unhygienic and/or unavailable when needed. The purpose of this standard is to ensure that employees do not suffer from health problems that can occur when washrooms are not available when employees need them. The standard of § 1926.51 (c) (1) requires that toilets be “provided”. As we wrote in a letter dated the 7th. June 2002 to M. Nicholas Mertz on a related topic noted: In response to questions about adequate access to washrooms, OSHA has published interpretive letters that together outline how employers should ensure immediate access to washrooms (see references for interpretive letters under Additional Resources below). The purpose of this standard is to ensure that employees do not suffer from health problems that may result from the unavailability of toilets. The standard of § 1926.51 (c) (1) requires that a certain minimum number of toilets be “provided” according to the number of employees. As we wrote in a letter dated June 7, 2002 to Mr.

Nicholas Mertz and in an email dated June 23, 2002. February 2005 to Mrs. Mary Nall, toilets that take too long to access are not considered “provided” because they are not readily available: 1 In the ANSI standard, “maintenance” is defined as “the emptying of waste and the cleaning of sanitary facilities”. [ back to text ] For more information on regulatory requirements for toilets on construction sites, as well as best practices for improving sanitation conditions at these sites for men and women, see the National Association of Women in Construction Alliance Product, Portable Toilet and Sanitation Best Practices for Women in Construction. OSHA`s requirements are defined by laws, standards, and regulations. Our interpretive letters explain these requirements and how they apply to certain circumstances, but they cannot create additional obligations on the part of the employer. This letter represents OSHA`s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidelines may be affected by changes to OSHA rules.

From time to time, we update our guidelines in response to new information. To stay up to date with these developments, you can check out OSHA`s website at www.osha.gov. Employers may need to be flexible in developing procedures to ensure that workers have access to washrooms when needed. Employers who have mobile workers must provide readily available transportation that allows immediate access (i.e., less than 10 minutes) to the washroom if it is not available in the workplace. Toilets for agricultural workers should not be located more than a quarter of a mile from where workers work on similar results. While workplaces require constant coverage (e.g., production lines and bus drivers), employers can put in place a system that allows employees to request relief as long as there are enough support staff to ensure that the wait time is not unreasonably long. Employers must provide at least the minimum number of toilets in separate toilets for each sex (see table in 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(1)(i)) and provide immediate access to facilities if necessary. Frequency requirements for toilets can vary greatly from worker to worker and can be affected by medications, fluid intake, air temperature, and other factors.

Similar considerations apply to section 1926.51(c)(1) because the purpose of the provisions is the same – to ensure that employees have immediate access to washrooms. Therefore, the starting point for assessing whether the requirements of section 1926.51(c)(1) have been met is generally the same as for section 1926.51(c)(4) – that is, whether it takes employees less than 10 minutes to get to the bathroom. For more information, please contact us by fax at the following address: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, Fax #202-693-1689. You may also contact us by mail at the office above, room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there is a delay in receiving our correspondence by mail. Sincerely, Russell B. Swanson, Director of the Construction Branch Therefore, whether the employer in the scenario you describe satisfies section 1926.51(c)(1) depends on whether it has granted its employees immediate access to the washroom, that is, a washroom close enough for employees to use when needed.