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Blog Post Published Date
November 29, 2023

OHS requirements construction site

Construction site

OHS Requirements for Construction Sites

The lack of utilities is one of the toughest parts of a new construction project. While it’s easy enough to get a temporary power supply for your tools, it’ll still be months before there’s any indoor plumbing.

If you’ve got dozens of trades running around all day, a lack of toilets can get out of hand pretty fast. Luckily, you don’t need indoor plumbing to supply a throne fit for a king – portaloos can get the job done!

It’s not the most glamorous part of the work. But it’s important for preventing your trades from kicking up a stink when they’re on site.

In this article we’ll have a look at the OHS requirements for construction sites and help you figure out how many polypropylene thrones you need to order.

What are Australia’s WHS Requirements for Construction Sites?

All employers in Australia (including construction companies!) are required to uphold the Work Health & Safety (WHS) Regulations. These laws are all about keeping your people safe and sound while they’re on the job.

Keeping employees safe is good for business, and it’s good for the people who are trusting you to make sure they don’t get injured at work.

WHS regulations cover all the obvious stuff. Employees must be given appropriate safety equipment. Employees can’t be asked to do anything that would risk their wellbeing. Employees have a right to proper training, risk assessment, management and protection.

All pretty useful stuff. But did you know that the WHS sets out specific requirements for toilets, bathrooms and washing up facilities?

That’s right, keeping clean is a big part of your responsibilities as an employer. Just like you can’t ask a worker to put themselves at risk, you can’t risk their health and hygiene (and the health of everyone else onsite) by failing to provide a thunder box or two.

This is covered under section 41 of the Work Health & Safety Regulation:

  1. A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the provision of adequate facilities for workers, including toilets, drinking water, washing facilities and eating facilities.

You’re also required to keep those facilities clean, safe, accessible and in good working order. The actual requirements vary depending on the type of work you’re doing, but most construction sites are required to have at least a few portaloos lying around at all times.

WHS Requirements for Toilet and Bathroom Facilities

Okay, so you need to provide toilet and washing up facilities. It seems trivial, but it’s pretty important. Imagine how slow the work would go if your trades kept ducking down to the local shops to use the bathroom? It’d take years to get anything done.

The actual requirements vary between commercial, industrial and residential construction sites. For residential sites (including multi-residential buildings that are up to 3 storeys high), employers must provide:

  • At least 1 toilet per 15 male workers, or 1 toilet per 10 female workers, OR;
  • Construction sites with fewer than 10 people may provide 1 unisex toilet if there are 2 or fewer workers of one gender, AND;
  • Hand washing facilities within, or next to, each toilet or urinal. Hand washing facilities need to include soap and water.

Pretty easy, right?

If the toilet isn’t connected to the sewerage system (e.g. a portaloo), it needs a self-contained fresh water flush that’s regularly serviced. Don’t worry about the servicing part – the Poles & Holes team takes care of the elbow grease. We’ll visit your site at least once per month to clean up, get rid of the waste and restock soaps, toilet paper and other supplies you need.

Other than that, employers need to make sure that toilets provide a reasonable level of hygiene and privacy. This means portaloos must be:

  • Regularly cleaned
  • Weatherproof
  • Ventilated and well-lit
  • Provided with a locking door
  • Provided with a hinged seat and lid
  • Provided with toilet paper
  • Placed so that it’s stable under working conditions

If there are female workers onsite, you’ll also need to provide appropriate measures so that sanitary items can be disposed of safely, such as a sanitary bin inside the portaloo. Note that sanitary items can’t be flushed down a portaloo – make sure everyone onsite has access to an appropriate bin!

Check out the Housing Industry Association for the full requirements.

Keep Your Construction Site Clean, Safe and Compliant with Poles & Holes!

It’s easy to take for granted, but running water is a pretty important part of keeping workplaces clean. That’s a challenge if you’re running a construction site. Luckily, the team at Poles & Holes can make sure your staff have access to all the facilities they need!

Poles & Holes maintains an inventory of the latest and greatest portaloos. We’re based in Capalaba and we deliver all over the Brisbane region. Our portaloos decorate construction sites across South East Queensland, so your team can breathe a sigh of relief knowing we have them covered!

Our portaloo hire services are perfect for construction sites. We take care of delivery, installation and pick up, and we’ll make sure your facilities are well-serviced in between.

Contact us if you are needing building site toilet hire for your construction site today!

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