Washroom Legal Requirements
Your Legal Obligations
What do you need to do?
If your company has any female employees, or if women from other companies visit your premises, in many cases you can break employment law, environmental law or health and safety law without even knowing it.
You may be breaking the law if you don’t provide a sanitary waste disposal bin. The ‘Duty of Care’ Act demands that sanitary waste is managed to the point of disposal. Waste must be carried by a licensed carrier and a full audit trail of documentation must be available at all times. Failure to comply can lead to a large fine or a term of imprisonment.
This applies to all commercial premises, even if only one female is employed.
This regulation is further endorsed by the Water Industries Act 1991, which states that no items should be flushed that could cause a blockage within the sewer or drain.
As employers, we are all bound by law to provide adequate and appropriate washroom facilities for our staff. The following section from Statutory Instrument 1992 No.3004, The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 outlines what we are obliged to do.
(1) Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences shall be provided at readily accessible places.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), sanitary conveniences shall not be suitable unless’
(a) the rooms containing them are adequately ventilated and lit;
(b) they and the rooms containing them are kept in a clean and orderly condition; and
(c) separate rooms containing conveniences are provided for men and women except where and so far as each convenience is in a separate room the door of which is capable of being secured from inside.
(3)It shall be sufficient compliance with the requirement in paragraph (1) to provide sufficient sanitary conveniences in a workplace which is not a new workplace, a modification, an extension or a conversion and which, immediately before this regulation came into force in respect of it, was subject to the provisions of the Factories Act 1961, if sanitary conveniences are provided in accordance with the provisions of Part II of Schedule 1.
(1) Suitable and sufficient washing facilities, including showers if required by the nature of the work or for health reasons, shall be provided at readily accessible places.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), washing facilities shall not be suitable unless’
(a) they are provided in the immediate vicinity of every sanitary convenience, whether or not provided elsewhere as well;
(b) they are provided in the vicinity of any changing rooms required by these Regulations, whether or not provided elsewhere as well;
(c) they include a supply of clean hot and cold, or warm, water (which shall be running water so far as is practicable);
(d) they include soap or other suitable means of cleaning;
(e) they include towels or other suitable means of drying;
(f) the rooms containing them are sufficiently ventilated and lit;
(g) they and the rooms containing them are kept in a clean and orderly condition; and
(h) separate facilities are provided for men and women, except where and so far as they are provided in a room the door of which is capable of being secured from inside and the facilities in each such room are intended to be used by only one person at a time.
(3) Paragraph (2)(h) shall not apply to facilities which are provided for washing hands, forearms and face only.
Please note that the information supplied here is intended to highlight special areas of workplace Health and Safety Law. Liberty Hygiene Ltd make every effort to update the contents of this section on a regular basis. However, the regulations can, and do change frequently, meaning that despite our best efforts, there are times when our information may be out of date. Libery Hygiene Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any loss or inconvenience suffered through use of this information, which is offered as a guide only. You are advised to contact the relevant government department, or visit one of the websites to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.