The rights that employees have at their workplace is something that comes up every so often, although the specific topic on employee’s washroom rights isn’t something that is discussed as much.

So with that in mind, in this article the discussion is going to be based on this overlooked topic and look into how employers are able to optimize upon these rights.

Washroom at Your Workplace: A Must

A washroom facility must be available somewhere within your workplace (although if your work requires you to travel between multiple locations, for example as a builder, then your rights are slightly different).

If you work in one set location, such as an office, then your rights regarding the availability of a washroom are pretty straight forward. There must be a washroom facility (contains both a toilet and a facility for you to wash your hands) available to all employees at all times.

However, if you are a part of what is known as a mobile work crew, then the rights that you have are slightly different.

In this case, in relation to washroom availability, a washroom (including a toilet and a facility for you to wash your hands) must be available at all times and must be within a quarter mile of where you are working from.

Required Number of Facilities

The number of facilities that are required in a workplace differs depending on how many employees there are in a workplace. It’s important to note that the gender of employees does play a part in these numbers.

The numbers that are specified in this section are in regard to the number of female employees in a workplace, although these numbers also apply to gender neutral washrooms.

  • Between 1 and 5 employees, 1 toilet and 1 hand-washing facility.
  • Between 6 and 25 employees, 2 toilets and 2 hand-washing facilities.
  • Between 26 and 50 employees, 3 toilets and 3 hand-washing facilities.
  • Between 51 and 75 employees, 4 toilets and 4 hand-washing facilities.
  • Between 76 and 100 employees, 6 toilets and 5 hand-washing facilities.

The numbers that are specified in this section are in regard to the number of male employees in a workplace.

  • Between 1 and 15 employees, 1 toilet and 1 urinal.
  • Between 16 and 30 employees, 2 toilets and 1 urinal.
  • Between 31 and 45 employees, 2 toilets and 2 urinals.
  • Between 46 and 60 employees, 3 toilets and 2 urinals.
  • Between 61 and 75 employees, 3 toilets and 3 urinals.
  • Between 76 and 90 employees, 4 toilets and 3 urinals.
  • Between 91 and 100 employees, 4 toilets and 4 urinals.

Right to Washroom Breaks

Nature calls, even when you’re at work. Based on a study, a worker spends 41 hours each year in the washroom/bathroom. Every worker should take a few minutes break in between work so to avoid exhaustion and to regain strength and energy to get back to work. This is true for washroom breaks too.

Right to Hand Hygiene Supplies and Facilities

While this might seem fairly straightforward, the specifics of hand-washing workplace rights are often overlooked. Within a workplace washroom, both cold and hot water must be available along with soap. It’s just as important that either paper towels or a hand dryer is available for employees to dry their hands too.

It is important to maintain good health and hygiene in the workplace. So access to hand hygiene facilities and hand hygiene supplies is a must and should be provided to employees.

Right to Washroom Privacy

Washroom should be designed appropriately. By washroom design, this doesn’t mean that you must have a fully furnished washroom of only the highest quality. By design, it means how the washroom design is laid out which is important.

For example, it is incredibly important, for obvious privacy reasons, that toilets are separated from the rest of the washroom through the use of a cubical and a door. This partitioning design is a standard for all workplace washrooms and there are no reasons for it not to be in place.

Right to A Clean and Well-Maintained Washroom Facilities

Last but definitely not least, it’s important that all of the available washroom facilities are cleaned regularly and that supplies such as toilet paper and soap are regularly replaced to ensure that they don’t run out.

While not necessary, although it is recommended, it is a good idea to have all washroom facilities cleaned up (this includes floors mopped, toilets cleaned, sinks cleaned, and other general cleanings) and resources such as soap and toilet paper replaced at the end of each workday.

Showers in the Workplace: Not A Necessity

Showers in workplace washrooms are not necessary in most workplaces, such as an office, however when it comes to labs where employees work with chemicals on a daily basis it is essential that showering facilities become available with both cold and hot water.

This ensures that employees are not put at risk of chemicals remaining on their clothes or their skin.

A Call For Employers to Improve Washroom Experience for Employees

When it comes to washroom rights, some companies do their best to float just above the line that would get them in trouble, and this is a bad thing to do. Why do they do it? They do it to save money.

This might seem like a good idea, but it is possible to comply with an employee’s workplace washroom break rights and at the same time, spend a lot less money than you’d expect to.

There are two simple words that go hand in hand with saving money. Go green. By going green, you are able to use toilet papers made of recycled materials, soaps made out of natural resources, and if you’re willing to go the extra mile, solar panels which contribute to saving you money on your electricity bill and power air dryers.

Going green has many benefits, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

There is a lot more to a workplace washroom than simply having somewhere to go when you have to go. As an employer or upper management, it’s important to ensure that the washroom’s within the workplace that you run is up to par and is at the highest standard possible.

If you are constantly looking to optimize the workplace and increase the flow of productivity, then the best thing you can do is talk to your employees and discuss things that they are unhappy with. From there, you can work with your employees to improve the workplace, improve the mood of your employees, and increase the level of productivity.

The chances are that your employees are unhappy about something, and a common complaint from employees is the lack of attention that washroom facilities get. Work with these complaints and improve your washrooms!

Improve your washroom facilities, partner with Alsco. With our fully-managed washroom systems, you’re sure to have a clean, hygienic and well-maintained washroom for your workplaces. Contact us now!


Image Courtesy: Flickr Image by Vin Viriyincy