Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1926.51(c)(1); 1926.51(c)(4)|
|OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.|
|Number of employees||Minimum number of facilities|
|20 or less . . . .||1|
|20 or more . . . .||1 toilet seat and 1 urinal per 40 workers.|
|200 or more . . . .||1 toilet seat and 1 urinal per 50 workers.|
[T]he most basic meaning of 'provide' is 'make available.' See Webster's II New College Dictionary ('Webster'), 1995, defining 'provide' as 'to furnish; to make ready; to make available.' Toilets that take too long to get to are not 'available.' Similarly, one purpose of the requirement in Table D-1 that adequate numbers of toilets be provided for the size of the workforce is timely access -- to assure that employees will not have to wait in long lines to use those facilities. The most basic meaning of 'readily' as defined by Webster is 'promptly; willingly; easily;' and it furthermore defines 'ready' as 'prepared or available for service or action.'Therefore, whether the employer in the scenario you describe meets §1926.51(c)(1) depends upon whether it has provided prompt access to toilets for its employees, that is, toilets that are sufficiently close so that employees can use them when they need to do so. We cannot make that assessment based on the information you provided since we do not know how long it would take in the scenario for the employees to get to the toilets from their work stations. However, note that in the letter to Mr. Mertz interpreting §1926.51(c)(4), OSHA stated that:
[I]n general, toilets would be considered 'nearby' if it would take less than 10 minutes to get to them.Similar considerations are applicable to §1926.51(c)(1), since the purpose of the provisions is the same -- making sure that employees have prompt access to toilets. Therefore, in general, the starting point for assessing whether the requirements of §1926.51(c)(1) have been met is the same as for §1926.51(c)(4) -- that is, whether it takes employees less than 10 minutes to get to a toilet.
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
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