This guidance is for contractors and builders undertaking housing construction. It outlines the occupational health and safety (OHS) duties of employers to provide employees with services on building sites.
About this guidance
Employers must provide adequate facilities for housing construction sites to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others using their sites.
This guidance applies to employers who construct, renovate or extend residential buildings or associated structures based on classes 1, 2 and 10 of the Building Code of Australia.
attached dwellings, separated from each other by a fire resisting wall, such as, boarding and guest houses, hostels or similar with a floor area less than 300 square metres
ancillary buildings to the above, such as private garages, gazeboes and carports
Multi-storey buildings above 3 habitable storeys, are not included in this guidance.
The advice provided in this guidance is consistent with OHS law in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and with the National Standard for Construction Work.
For guidance on facilities on larger housing sites, read Workplace facilities on medium sized residential construction developments in Related information.
Facilities at housing construction sites to provide for the health, safety and welfare of employees and other persons working on that site.
Examples of facilities are:
meal and shelter facilities
Who needs facilities
Employers must provide facilities for their employees and other persons such as independent contractors and their employees using the site.
Facilities are for:
visitors to the site
Meal and shelter facilities
Employers should provide hygienic and weatherproof meal and shelter facilities at the worksite as soon as possible. This could be a garage or a similar covered area.
These facilities should include:
adequate seating, which could include a board across two trestles and other alternatives to chairs
a hygenic surface for meals
a rubbish bin with a lid or appropriate alternatives for the hygienic disposal of food scraps
A contractor can use their vehicle for shelter at the start of construction — only until they can make a more suitable area available.
Employees must have easy access to clean and hygenic toilet facilities on the worksite. Provide self-contained fresh water flushing portable toilets if there is not a toilet connected to the sewerage system. Service these toilets at least once a month in accordance with the supplier's information and instructions.
To provide an acceptable standard of hygiene and privacy, the toilet should:
be kept clean
be well-lit and well ventilated (naturally or artificially)
have a hinged seat and lid
have a door which can be locked from inside
have a well-drained floor above ground level covered with a durable waterproof material
be provided with sufficient toilet paper
be set up to remain level and stable
Toilets may be shared between sites if:
sites are under the control of the same employer or there is clear agreement between the employers
toilets are convenient and accessible to the employees on each site
there is at least 1 toilet per 15 employees
Adequate and hygienic means for disposing of sanitary items need to be provided for toilets where required.
Hand washing facilities
Provide hand hand washing facilities, including clean water and soap inside or next to each toilet.
An adequate supply of clean drinking water must be available to all employees on the site. Install the site water tapping, complete with hose bib-tap, at the earliest opportunity.
Where a mains water supply connection is not possible, provide drinking water using flasks, labelled water containers, water bags or similar, so employees do not share drinking containers.
Provide mains water supply as soon as possible. Separate drinking water facilities from toilet facilities to ensure hygiene.
When providing facilities, consider the:
location of the site
type of work to be done
number of employees
availability of power and services
The employer should plan for:
safe and convenient location of facilities
positioning and construction to prevent flooding of facilities
clear access to facilities at all times
hygienic and safe discharge of waste water
clean and sanitary facilities
adequate natural and/or artificial lighting for safe access and use of facilities
Enclosed facilities should be well built and weatherproof and have adequate ventilation and lighting.
Employers have a duty to consult with employees and contractors to determine the adequacy of facilities for their welfare, and if there is a need for more facilities to be provided for a particular site.