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HSE Compliance: Why You Need a Construction Site Toilet for Workers
As an employer, equipping your worksite with a toilet isn’t just about being nice to your workers – it’s the law. According to the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive, providing adequate toilet and washing facilities ensures the health and safety of your employees.
However, working on construction sites sometimes makes it more difficult to provide a decent loo. The good news is, there are several construction site toilet options for you to choose from that will keep you compliant with the HSE.
Keen to learn more about the different loo options and the HSE rules you need to follow? Read on for everything you need to know about construction site toilets and how to install them compliantly.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)?
- 2 The Role of the HSE
- 3 HSE Construction Site Safety: Toilets and Washing
- 4 Common Issues with Compliance
- 5 Can Male and Female Workers Use the Same Toilet Facilities on a Construction Site?
- 6 How Many Toilets Should a Workplace Have?
- 7 Benefits of Hiring Portable Toilets for Construction Sites
- 8 Construction Site Toilet Products for Your Workplace
- 9 Construction Site Toilet & Welfare Unit Servicing
- 10 The Best Construction Site Toilet Rental in the UK
What is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)?
The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 was created by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It’s a national, independently operated watchdog agency in the UK. The purpose of the organisation is to act as the United Kingdom’s national health and safety regulator.
The HSE is tasked with enforcing legislation that’s tailored to prevent workplace accidents, illnesses, injuries and fatalities. Plus, the organisation provides guidance on how to remain compliant with health and safety regulations. It does so by giving no-cost resources and updates on the most recent changes in HSE guidelines.
It is also in charge of:
- Conducting relevant health and safety research
- Enforcing healthier, safer job practices by assisting business owners and workers
- Ensuring that compliance is maintained with all current health and safety regulations
The objective of the HSE is to make sure that health and safety rules are simple and easy for organisations and their staff to follow.
The Role of the HSE
The HSE operates based on a basic principle of health and safety law. They believe that companies that create risks should be responsible for controlling those risks. Essentially, part of the HSE’s task as a regulator is to make sure that employers are fully responsible for the risks they create.
Regulating includes providing legislation and enforcement via audits and inspections, and also offering educational resources to help employers stay complaint. It’s the HSE’s job to give health and safety assistance to ensure that employers understand the rules.
Their guidance also includes raising awareness regarding health and safety in the workplace for employers and workers. That way, everyone understands what their role entails and exactly what they can do to stay compliant.
Basically, it’s all about taking responsibility. This starts by detailing the employer’s primary role. To better understand your role and responsibility as an employer, visit the HSE website. It outlines a variety of safe working practices to help business owners put the relevant measures in place.
HSE Construction Site Safety: Toilets and Washing
Providing access to welfare facilities not only ensures your workers are comfortable, but it is a legal requirement. In particular, for any construction job that is expected to last more than a month, you’ll need to install construction site toilets and washing facilities on site, unless there’s a suitable alternative nearby. Learn more about each of the essential requirements in order to remain HSE compliant below.
A construction site toilet has to be efficient enough for your worksite. There are two main types:
Flushing toilets – You should provide a flushing construction site toilet when possible. Attach them to the primary water and drainage systems where available. Alternatively, toilets with a built-in water supply and drainage tanks can be used.
Chemical toilets – Another option for your site is portable chemical toilets. They are acceptable alternatives when you can’t provide a flushing construction site toilet. Chemical toilets are most common on short-term or smaller construction sites.
Portable toilets for construction sites also work well as an addition to permanent facilities in remote areas of larger sites.
To stay HSE compliant, you should make sure your washing facilities are located beside the toilets and changing rooms. They should also include the following:
- clean hot and cold, or warm running water
- soap for cleaning hands
- towels for drying
- proper ventilation and lighting
- showers (depending on the work performed)
Washing areas are vital because they help to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses amongst your workers.
The sinks and washbasins on your worksite need to allow employees to wash their hands, forearms and faces properly. Some portable toilets for construction sites only come with hand sanitiser and a small sink. However, that isn’t adequate unless other proper washing facilities are close by.
Furthermore, hand washing shouldn’t take place in the same region where eating and drinking occurs. It’s essential to provide washing facilities away from eating and rest areas where workers could get exposed to hazardous substances like cement, micro-organisms and lead. Doing so controls the risk of contamination.
On sites where employees get really dirty or work with hazardous material, showers are required to help wash away harmful particles from the hair and skin. In this situation, portable shower units should be set away from the main construction site toilet facilities to prevent contamination of other workers.
Also, for employees working in tunnelling or with lead or asbestos, specialist guidelines must be put into place to protect the worker’s health. In these conditions, hot showers aren’t efficient enough. Read ARCA’s facilities advice to learn more.
Water is a separate problem from the toilets and washing facilities. An employer is expected to provide employees access to drinking water from a public source. Not only that, but all workers must have access to a bottled water dispenser and drinking cups. There should also be enough water at all times, and employers should take the temperatures and the type of work into consideration.
Employers don’t have to display a sign for the drinking water. However, if workers are likely to drink the water in the washing facilities, the company should label it “not for drinking” and “drinking water” to differentiate the two.
Learn more about construction site welfare facilities requirements on our blog.
Common Issues with Compliance
There are a few issues that present a constant problem with construction site toilets and washing facilities. The most common problems include:
The number of toilets: The number of toilets required depends on the number of workers on the site, and the ratio of males to females. If you are using chemical toilets, the BSI standard is one plastic construction toilet to every seven individuals working a 40-hour week.
With that in mind, you will need to consider how often the toilets are cleaned and emptied. Portable toilets for construction sites are usually only serviced once a week as part of a hire contract. Depending on the frequency of use, cleaning might be needed more often, or you may require more units on the site.
Electrical safety: Many construction site toilet units have heated water for handwashing. Electrical installation is usually 240v, but certain precautions are needed to prevent the risk of an electrical injury. As a result, it’s best to have them installed by a professional.
Ventilation and lighting – Building site toilets and washing areas require adequate ventilation and lighting.
Cleaning: Toilets and washing facilities require routine cleaning. Using a portable toilet hire company is often the best way to ensure your construction site toilets are serviced regularly.
Consumables: Toilet paper, soap, paper towels, and other amenities run out fast. It’s important to make sure that supplies are always stocked, both for the benefit of your workers and to remain HSE compliant.
Can Male and Female Workers Use the Same Toilet Facilities on a Construction Site?
Men and women are permitted to use the same building site toilet as long as it’s in a lockable room away from urinals. You must also provide sanitary waste disposals for your female workers.
Men and women can also share sinks to wash their faces, hands and arms. Plus, you can offer unisex showers to employees as long as they are separated, lockable from the inside and made to accommodate one person at a time. This will ensure the safety and comfort of your entire team, as well as meeting legal requirements.
How Many Toilets Should a Workplace Have?
The most important legislation to read when installing construction site toilets is the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Regulation 20, Sanitary conveniences, states that work toilets must have:
- Appropriate and adequate sanitary supplies offered in accessible areas.
- Without bias to the generality of paragraph (1), sanitary conveniences will not be appropriate except if –
- a) The rooms containing them are satisfactorily ventilated and lit;
- b) They and the rooms containing them are kept in a perfect and organised condition; and
- c) Separate rooms containing conveniences are given to males and females except where each comfort is in a divided room with a door
In addition to the above requirements, a suitable code of practice also provides a minimum number of toilet facilities. The number of construction site toilets and washbasins allowed for mixed use or women only are as follows:
For mixed use or women only, you’ll need one toilet and washbasin for 1-5 workers. The number of toilets and washbasins required increases according to the total number of staff members on your team.
For example, 25-50 workers are required to have three toilets and three washbasins between them, and 51-75 employees need four toilets and washbasins. Lastly, 76-100 staff members must have access to five shared toilets and washbasins.
For males only, one toilet and one urinal are needed for 1-15 employees. That number increases to two toilets and one urinal for 16-30 staff members, and four toilets and four urinals for 91-100 workers.
Benefits of Hiring Portable Toilets for Construction Sites
If you don’t have fixed facilities where you’re working, hiring temporary construction site toilets is a legal requirement. It also comes with several benefits for both your staff and clients. Here are just a few:
- Better productivity – providing a portable toilet for your construction site eliminates the need for staff to regularly travel off-site throughout the day. This means your team can be back at work in just a few minutes, and get the job done faster.
- Less disturbance for clients – this is especially important when it comes to longer term projects. Having construction workers come in and out of your property or office throughout the day to use the facilities can be really distracting. Giving staff access to their own building site toilets will ensure minimal disturbance for clients.
- Happier staff – as well as keeping your clients happy, it’s vital that you keep your workers happy. Providing quality construction site toilets and washing units that are cleaned regularly, shows you care about your team’s welfare. It also prevents people becoming uncomfortable throughout the day if other facilities are some distance away.
- Convenient – portable construction toilets take up very little space and are easy to transport around large building sites as needed. They’re accessible 24/7, unlike public facilities which are locked at night, so ideal for shift work. Chemical toilets are also entirely self-contained, with no need for a mains water system.
Construction Site Toilet Products for Your Workplace
If your business needs a construction site toilet or other welfare facilities, our LetLoos selection of HSE-compliant units is amazing. Below are a few options to choose from:
Hot Wash Site Toilet
A portable hot wash construction site toilet can provide hot and cold water for better sanitation and a more comfortable bathroom experience. We offer hot wash toilet units that are available for immediate hire, for both short- and long-term projects. The advantage of hot water facilities is that they encourage workers to wash their hands for a longer period of time. This in turn helps prevent the spread of bacteria and germs.
Portable Toilet Hire
Construction sites can definitely benefit from chemical toilets. At LetLoos, our portable toilet hire gives you the ability to offer your staff members the facilities they need. Furthermore, we provide simple installation and removal to make sure that the units don’t get in the way and interrupt the workflow on the site.
Here are a few additional benefits:
- Toilets are steam cleaned before delivery to ensure they arrive in pristine condition.
- Our chemical portable toilets are sanitised each week using top-notch chemicals to eradicate odours.
- Toilets are equipped with a forearm washbasin to ensure compliance with health, safety and welfare regulations (1992).
- A completely portable unit, with no ground hole required, nor a septic tank or mains water system.
Single Shower Unit
LetLoos’ single shower units are the ideal solution for the efficient removal of dirt, grime and other harmful substances. Not only that, but they include:
- Simple-to-use controls and a roomy interior design.
- Delivery and installation performed on-site by knowledgeable technicians
- Reduced chance of injury through contact with dangerous substances.
Dust, mud and hazardous materials are a constant issue on construction sites, and it’s challenging for workers to remain clean. Many businesses are searching for portable shower units for hire as a solution.
Thankfully, our units provide a quick and efficient way for construction employees to freshen up prior to beginning work, after their shift, or any other time workers need to clean themselves.
LetLoos’ transferrable shower units are easy to operate and are created to handle heavy usage. The simple controls and roomy interior allow construction workers to enjoy a nice shower anytime they need to. Our expert staff will deliver to the site the following day, identify the best area to put your unit(s) and provide a full install.
Mains Connected Toilet
Our mains-connected portable toilets for construction sites are an affordable option for long-term work projects. This product allows workers to take advantage of the mains water access and complete flushing facilities while working on-site. It also:
- Functions in precisely the same way as a home or office toilet.
- Provides an affordable, hygienic solution for extended projects where consistent use is anticipated.
- Includes site location suggestions, complete installation, routine maintenance and eventual removal.
- Minimizes odour and requires less maintenance than other models.
In other words, you can’t go wrong with choosing this construction toilet option—especially if you run a busy site.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one comfort break solution for your construction site, we also offer self-contained welfare units. These 12ft-long mobile units provide access to toilet facilities and a separate kitchen area for up to 6 members of staff. This is a great option if you’re building on land with no facilities close by. You can expect:
- Hotwash facilities and a chemical toilet with no need for mains access.
- Basic cooking facilities including a kettle and microwave for use at breaktimes.
- A fully HSE compliant mobile unit delivered directly to you.
- Steam cleaned prior to arrival and stocked with essentials like toilet roll and soap for immediate use.
- Weekly emptying and cleaning as standard to maintain good levels of hygiene.
Construction Site Toilet & Welfare Unit Servicing
When it comes to cleaning and emptying your building site toilets and welfare facilities, look no further. In addition to supplying an extensive range of units, at LetLoos we also offer a 5* sanitising service. This includes the fast and hygienic removal of waste using specialist vacuum technology and regular restocking of essentials like toilet roll, soap and paper towels.
Our highly trained staff are also on-call 24/7 to deal with any emergencies that may arise. This means that you’ll always have access to the support you need, day or night. It also ensures that your construction site toilets remain sanitary and compliant with HSE guidelines at all times.
The Best Construction Site Toilet Rental in the UK
If your company or building site is looking into construction toilet rental, LetLoos has you covered. We are the UK’s No.1 construction site toilet hire provider. Our portable toilets are steam cleaned before delivery and serviced every week to ensure they remain sanitary.
Looking for something a little different? We also offer porta potty rental, toilets for special events and luxury toilet trailers. And don’t forget our hot wash shower units. Whatever HSE-compliant welfare facilities you need, we can supply them.
If you have any questions regarding our products and services, feel free to give us a call on 0800 368 8373 or contact us online. One of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.