Article Originally Published at Safework SA
A review of SafeWork SA’s database found the construction industry accounted for 42 per cent of 765 complaints associated with toilets in the past decade.
Construction also accounted for half of all toilet-related improvement notices.
SafeWork SA has published new guidance on toilet facilities at construction sites in collaboration with the South Australian branches of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Master Builders and Civil Contractors Federation.
Construction work activities include contractors such as trades, communications and utilities.
The campaign is in an education phase with compliance checks scheduled for the second half of this year.
It follows a 2021 Electrical Trades Union (ETU and CEPU SA) report called ‘Nowhere to Go’ that found there were inadequate bathroom amenities for workers on many work sites around Australia.
The report exposes unsanitary, unsafe, inaccessible and unsuitable amenities faced by many workers undertaking construction work activities. It also found the issue is disproportionately impacting women.
It states that workers are forced to use bathrooms that:
- are unclean, unhygienic or rarely cleaned
- have no running water
- have no soap
- have no lock on the door
- are locked with no available key
- have no separate female facilities
- have no sanitary bins for women
- are a 20-minute round trip away from the work site.
SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director Glenn Farrell said most complaints were associated with unhygienic portable toilets.
‘Portable toilets need to be maintained and serviced in a hygienic way to minimise the risk of infections and disease for workers and the public,’ he said.
‘A safe construction site starts with the fundamental basics of having a clean toilet, equipped with the necessary facilities, and we’re seeing an unacceptable number of improvement notices being issued in the residential construction sector.
‘If the builder has a blatant disregard for suitable toilet facilities supplied to workers, there’s a good chance that other standards and safety performance on site are compromised.
‘The cleanliness of a site, including the toilet, is often a good indicator of safety and work standards.’