Office Toilet Facility Regulations

Recently we have been considering upgrading the toilets at our office, and part of this would involve removing 2 urinals in the men’s toilet and replacing this with a shower cubicle. Of course, before doing this we have to ensure that we will still be in compliance with Health and Safety laws.

The key issue for us is whether an employer is legally obliged to provide a urinal for male employees.

After spending a while researching on-line, I found conflicting information from various government departments. Southwark council have a page about Toilet Facilities on their site, as does business link and there is a guidance document on HSE’s website. Both Sourthwark council and the HSE guidance document offer two tables listing the minimum number of facilities required, one for a mixed sex work force and one for a male only workforce.

Business link are the only ones who say that the provision of a urinal for male employees is mandatory, saying:

“If any of your employees are men, you must provide the relevant number of toilets and urinals as outlined”

So who is right?

Well the law that governs the provision of toilets by an employer is the Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace Regulations 1992, and this is accompanied by another document published by the Health and Safety Executive know as the Approved Code of Practice and guidance.

At this point I couldn’t find the whole book reproduced anywhere online, so I ordered a copy and I have scanned in the relevant pages as you will see below.

Page 33 Page 34
Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare - Page 33 Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare - Page 34

There are two tables in the “Minimum numbers of facilities” section.

Table 1 may be used by all businesses (with a mixed gender, or an all male workforce).
Table 2 may be optionally chosen by employers of an all male work force.

The exact wording is as follows:

In the case of sanitary accommodation used only by men, Table 2 may be followed if desired, as an alternative to column 2 of Table 1

So it would appear that, in fact, urinals are optional but not compulsory.

Minimum number of facilities

The minimum number of WCs and WHBs in a mixed sex office is therefore:

Number of people at work Number of water closets Number of wash stations
1 to 5 1 1
6 to 25 2 2
26 to 50 3 3
51 to 75 4 4
76 to 100 5 5

As a rule of thumb you need at least 1 toilet and wash station per 25 employees + 1 extra. Unless you are planning on having unisex toilets, you will need to run this calculation separately for both men and women. For example, in an office with 50 men and 50 women, you would need either a) 3 men’s toilets, and 3 women’s toilets or b) 5 unisex toilets.

Local Petrol Price Data

A lot of people have been requesting a summary of petrol price information in their local area, so today I built a tool that will allow them to include this on their site:

View the source of this page to see how to include it in your own site (via an iframe).

Macbook Air brings iPhone’s multitouch to a laptop

Steve Jobs announced a new Macbook for their laptop line up during his keynote speech at the Macworld Expo today. The Macbook Air will be the world’s thinnest notebook, but even though it’s small in size, it’s not short on features:

  • Aluminium case
  • Illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor to auto detect darkness
  • 5 hour battery life (with wireless enabled)
  • Multi-touch (iphone style) Touch pad
  • Wireless 802.11N networking (up to 250mbps)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (up to 3mbps)
  • Just 1.94 cm thick and 1.3 kg total weight (just over half the weight of current macbooks)
  • Fits in an A4 envelope? (or the US equivalent)
  • LED backlit screen for lower power consumption
  • Optional 64Gb solid-state drive.

Macbook Air
You can buy the new Macbook Air for £1199 from Apple’s online store or pay a whopping £829 more for the SSD version!.

Organic Eggs? You need a Hen Home

Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Chicken Out campaign on Channel 4 with interest and it certainly has opened my eyes to the appalling conditions in which we raise our feathered friends. I guess I’ve always known that battery hens were kept in cramped conditions, but not to such an extend.

So what can I do? Well the most obvious change I can make is to ensure that I always buy free range or organic eggs, but actually I can go one better than that. My friend Stuart has just designed and built a wooden hen home so that he can have his own pet chickens in his garden.

The Hen Home

Each chicken should produce about an egg a day. You can’t get fresher than that!