Date last updated

Wednesday 24 Jun 2020

Industries and topics
  • Construction

Background

Employers must provide adequate facilities for employees working on construction sites and others using their sites. Employees should have access to clean, hygienic and conveniently located toilets at all times. If it's not possible to provide access to permanent toilets, which is often the case on housing construction sites, then portable toilets should be provided.

Portable toilets are often not cleaned, serviced or transported in a safe and hygienic way —increasing the risk of infections and disease for employees and the public.

Installing portable toilets

Portable toilets should be:

  • placed on stable, flat ground to ensure effective operation and stability
    • accessible by a clear path suitable for all weather conditions

      On-site cleaning and servicing

      The employer should check the portable toilets daily to ensure that they are clean as required.

      If there is no contracted cleaning arrangement alternate arrangements to have the toilets cleaned and maintained should be made.

      Service toilets regularly. On-site servicing is generally done by the hire company and should include:

      • checking condition of  pumps and components
        • repairing any defects
          • pumping and rinsing empty sewage storage tanks
            • adding deodoriser and treatment chemicals to the sewage storage tank
              • refilling the holding tank with water
                • replenishing soap or other hand disinfectant
                  • replacing toilet paper
                    • cleaning and disinfecting the internal compartment, including fittings such as pump and door handles, the floor, seat and bowl

                      Tanks should be pumped out as needed to minimise odours and to ensure that waste in the tank will not exceed 50% of the tank's useable capacity before the next scheduled service.

                      WorkSafe recommends pumping out storage tanks every 2 weeks, particularly in warmer months. At a maximum, you should not leave pumping out for longer than 4 weeks.

                      Employees must be supplied with the appropriate personal protective equipment for cleaning and servicing toilets. Vaccinations for hepatitis and tetanus should be made available to employees who service toilets.

                      Transporting portable toilets

                      Toilet bowls in portable toilets do not have a water-tight seal. This means liquid waste can escape the bowls and pose a potential health risk to the public or employees who handle the toilets.

                      Portable toilets should only be moved or transported when the toilet has less than the following volumes in the storage tank:

                      Toilet useable capacity

                      Less than 220L

                      The maximum allowable volume during transport is 20L.

                      Greater than 220L

                      Maximum allowable volume during transport is 20L or 10% of the useable storage tank capacity, whichever is greater.