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LEGISLATIVE INTERPRETATIONS

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT

Access to Toilet Facilities

Topic: Access to Toilet Facilities Issued by: Director, Compliance and Regulatory Review
Statute: General Regulation 91-191 Date Issued: August 17, 2018
Section: 5(7) Date Revised:

Question 1

The General Regulation states that facilities must be “within easy access” of an employee’s work site. What does “within easy access” mean?

Answer

Section 5(1) of General Regulation 91-191 requires employers to provide toilet facilities based on the number of employees normally employed and section 5(7) requires that the toilet(s) be within easy access of the work site. Although the term “easy access” is not defined in General Regulation 91-191, Oxford Dictionary defines “easy” as:

‘Achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.’

An employer should consider this definition when considering where to undertake work and where to place toilet facilities to minimize any difficulties employees might encounter when accessing them.

At work sites where toilet facilities are not located within walking distance for employees, an employer must provide transportation between the work site and the toilet facilities. If a toilet is not easy to get to when required, (far away from the work area or access is restricted or obstructed) it would not be considered “within easy access”.

Where running water and sewage facilities are available, employers must provide water flush toilets. If no running water is available the employer may use a chemical self-contained portable or other similar type.

Question 2

How does “within easy access” apply to mobile work crews?

Answer

Mobile work crews or employees that travel between workplaces have unique considerations. Mobile work crews may require transportation to access nearby toilet facilities. This means that an employee must be able to take a break and the employer must make transportation available for the employee to a location with a restroom facility, or allow the employee to use their own vehicle.

 

Referenced Legislation

General Regulation 91-191

5(1) An employer shall provide a minimum number of toilets for each sex determined according to the maximum number of employees of each sex who are normally employed at any one time at the same place of employment as follows:

(a) where the number of such employees does not exceed nine, one toilet;

5(5) Where running water and sewage facilities are available, toilets shall be of the water flush type and may be of the chemical, self-contained portable or other similar type if no running water is available.

5(7) An employer shall ensure that a toilet facility is

(a) within easy access of an employee’s work site.

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