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Does your company's bathroom comply with these six OHSA guidelines?

by , 18 March 2013
'Mobile toilets thought to have been stolen at the Kayamandi informal settlement have been found,' the Stellenbosch municipality told IOL on Sunday. This after 25 of the 30 toilets it provided to help service the 3 000 people left homeless by a fire on Friday were stolen. That's good news! After all, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) there were too few toilets on site and the area had become a health and safety risk for the community. What about your company? Do you know what steps you must take to prevent your company's toilets and bathrooms from becoming a health and safety risk?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)  provides some common sense rules on maintaining proper bathroom facilities in the workplace.

And while most buildings comply with the National Building Regulations, which means that many of these requirements should already in place, it's your responsibility to ensure your company bathrooms comply with these legislations, warns The Health and Safety Advisor.

Here's what you need to know to keep your employees' health in check when it comes to your company's bathrooms.

Six regulations your company bathrooms must adhere to…

The OHSA requires that you provide sanitary facilities (toilets, urinals, wash hand basins, etc.) in accordance with the National Building Regulations.

But here's the thing most employers don't realise, says the Anita De Wet in The Health and Safety Advisor, irrespective of whether the sanitary facilities are on your premises or adjoining premises, you must provide employees with the following:

  1. Toilet paper.
  2. A toilet seat for every toilet designed to have a seat.
  3. A towel for every employee, or disposable paper towels, or hot air blowers, or clean portions of continuous cloth towels.
  4. Toilet soap or liquid soap dispensers; kept in a clean and hygienic condition.
  5. One sanitary facility per 30 people who need to use them.
  6. Sanitary facilities that are inoffensive to the public (i.e. portable facilities for construction sites must not put the health of the public at risk).

Worried your company bathrooms don't comply? Use this checklist

Every room that contains toilets, urinals, wash hand basins or showers must have:

  • A clear sign outside the entrance to the facility that indicates the gender of the persons for whom the room is intended
  • Adequate ventilation
  • An adequate supply of toilet paper – according to regulations you should remove any toilet rolls that only have a fifth of their paper left to ensure employees don't run out of toilet paper during the day.
  • A cleaning schedule that shows how often the bathroom is cleaned and what's done every time it's cleaned.

Bottom line: Having clean company bathrooms is one of the most important thing you can perform in your company to protect the health and safety of your employees. Yet, it's also one also one of the most often overlooked tasks, says superpages.com.

After all, a clean bathroom won't only help with improving employee morale and productivity and protect your employees from illness; it'll also safeguard you against fines or other citations from the Health Department.

Turn to chapter W03 of your Health and Safety Advisor to get your sample workplace facilities checklist. 

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