Porta-Potties In Residential Construction: How To Use Them Effectively And Comply With OSHA Regulations

24 June 2019
 Categories: , Blog


Even if you're working in residential construction with a small crew, you'll need porta-potties on your construction site. Your workers still need someplace to go, and OSHA regulates access to sanitation—you'll need to ensure adequate toilet availability. You'll also need to keep your porta-potties functional and sanitary by cleaning them and emptying them at least once a week. If you work in residential construction, here's a guide to using a porta-potty for construction sites.

1. Understand the OSHA Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a number of regulations regarding job site safety, and access to toilets is one of those regulations. In order to comply with OSHA, your construction site needs adequate access to porta-potties. If your residential construction site has less than 20 workers, you'll need one toilet. If it has more than 20 workers, you'll need one toilet and one urinal for every 40 workers.

Note that porta-potties count as a urinal—in essence, you'll need one porta-potty on your site for every 20 workers. It's a good idea to order one more porta-potty than you think you will need in order to accommodate any subcontractors that work on your construction site. In order to qualify as a toilet, a porta-potty needs to be functional. This means that they need to be stocked with toilet paper at all times. You also can't allow the waste holding tank inside the porta-potty to completely fill up—it renders it unusable.

2. Rent Porta-Potties Instead of Using the Client's Bathroom

The OSHA regulations don't specify that access to porta-potties specifically is necessary—workers only need access to a toilet. If you're doing a renovation on a home and it has a functional bathroom that your workers can use, this fulfills the OSHA requirement. However, you should still rent porta-potties for your construction site. Many homeowners are uncomfortable with the idea of their bathrooms being used by complete strangers. Renting a porta-potty for construction site use is very inexpensive. It's worth paying the rental cost to make your clients happy.

3. Keep Your Porta-Potties Hidden From View

If possible, hide your porta-potties so that they can't be seen from the street. Porta-potty vandalism is fairly common, and it's more likely during residential construction—it's difficult to secure the job site compared to commercial or industrial construction. When you keep your porta-potties hidden, you'll also reduce the risk of theft. Keep in mind, however, that your porta-potties need to be accessible to trucks so that they can be emptied.

4. Empty Your Porta-Potties at Least Once a Week

Unless your construction crew is very small, porta-potties for construction sites need to be emptied at least once a week. Periodic emptying prevents the waste holding tank from filling up. Remember that a full porta-potty is unusable and no longer qualifies as a toilet per OSHA regulations. Emptying your porta-potties regularly also makes them more pleasant for your workers to use. Porta-potties that aren't emptied and cleaned regularly will become unsanitary, which can pose a health risk.

Finally, keep in mind that the OSHA requirements for porta-potty access are just minimums. If your workers are waiting in line to use your porta-potties, you're losing out on productivity—you may want to rent more porta-potties for construction site use than are required by OSHA regulations.