How risky is using a workplace restroom during the pandemic?
Updated: May 18
You have a legal duty to provide adequate toilet facilities that are easy and safe to access. These could be staff, visitor or customer facilities. This applies to any workers (including those not employed or contracted to you), and any visitors or customers,who enter your workplace. The legal responsibility to provide access to these facilities lies with whoever controls the premises.
Refusing access for any reason, including as an infection control measure, is against the law. It is vital that people can wash their hands regularly, so not allowing access to welfare facilities may increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
When completing your Covid-19 Risk assessment review the provisions you have to make sure they allow people (including visiting workers) to social distance, use the toilets and wash hands frequently. Consider whether you need to provide any additional washing facilities.
To protect people when using existing toilet facilities consider the following:
· Take some static facilities out of use where they are less than 2 m apart. If this includes toilet facilities such as urinals you should ensure that you still have a sufficient number of toilets in your workplace
· Put markings on floors to show people the right distances or to show people where to stand
· Put in place systems such as ‘one in, one out’ if it isn’t possible to maintain social distancing.
Axxess 28 Ltd. recently installed a Covid-19 safe system to one of their clients in Teddington.
This is an easily operated “one in, one out” system. This restroom system consists of a visual indicator adjacent to the entrance door showing engaged or vacant. If the indicator displays that the restroom is vacant, the door can be opened. On the inside, again adjacent to the door there is a “no touch” switch that when a hand is waved across this switch, it engages an electric lock that locks the door and switches the external indicator to engaged. We included a safety system that allows the door to be manually released from both inside & outside should the need arise.