Is Your Public Restroom Federal Regulation Compliant?

, , ,

Are your bathrooms compliant with federal and state regulations? It’s a question that facilities across the nation have to ask, and the answer isn’t always so clear. For example, federal regulations require commercial buildings to provide restrooms for employees, while public restroom regulations are left up to the state and local municipalities.

In this post, we review some of the key aspects of restroom compliance policies so you can determine if your public bathroom is up to code.

Understanding Restroom Regulation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for regulating bathroom access for employees in the workplace. Their sanitation standards require that all commercial buildings provide adequate bathroom facilities for their employees in an effort to avoid any adverse health effects. The only exception is mobile worksites where transportation to bathrooms must be available.

Meanwhile, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies that bathrooms must be accessible to employees with disabilities. This means having a door that’s big enough for a wheelchair to fit through, among other amenities.

restroom cleaning checklist

How Many Toilets Should My Public Restroom Have?

According to OSHA, facilities with more than 15 employees must have gender-separated bathrooms. While this rule doesn’t speculate about gender-neutral bathrooms, you’ll need at least two separate facilities. Meanwhile, buildings with fewer than 15 employees require only one unisex bathroom (plus a sink and locking door).

How many employees do you have?

  • 16-35 employees = 2 toilets required
  • 36-55 employees = 3 toilets required
  • 56-80 employees = 4 toilets required
  • 81-110 employees = 5 toilets required
  • 111-150 employees = 6 toilets required
  • 151+ employees = 6 toilets plus 1 additional toilet for every 40 employees over 150

Also important to note is that while urinals are permitted in public restrooms, they don’t count toward the number of required toilets.

Additional Bathroom Requirements

Other OSHA rules specify that every bathroom must have soap, running water, and a hand dryer or towels. Also, the bathroom compartments must have a door and partitions that provide adequate privacy.

How to Bring Your Public Restroom Up to Code

Older buildings might not meet the regulations set by OSHA, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be updated to become compliant with both OSHA and ADA regulations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations that pertain to your specific building. This information is freely available online. However, a professional contractor should have no problem assessing your facility for compliance.

Once that’s done, you should be able to easily pinpoint what aspects of your facility need to be changed or modified to meet regulations. This could include installing additional toilets, installing sinks or toilet partitions, putting a lock on the door, or adding grab bars.

For more information about updating and renovating your commercial bathroom, download our free eBook The Professional’s Guide to Commercial Bathroom Renovations and Remodels.This resource has tons of useful information to guide you through the renovation process.