Construction Site Hygiene
Construction site hygiene is an important aspect of industrial safety. provides workers with a sanitary work environment.
A job site that follows best-practices provides workers with a sanitary work environment.
According to California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund,
“Construction site hygiene encourages good housekeeping, provides workers with clean drinking water, sanitary restrooms, and washing facilities to clean up.”
Keeping this in mind, let us look at the various elements of construction site hygiene and why they are each crucial to a productive and safe environment.
The Elements of Proper Construction Site Hygiene
Site safety and construction site hygiene go hand-in-hand.
“Site hygiene may not be as attention-grabbing as startling statistics about accidents in the workplace, but it is an essential piece of the site safety puzzle.
Furthermore, keeping these following four points at the forefront of your mind will protect your workers and ensure proper construction site hygiene.
Housekeeping isn’t an exciting task, but it is necessary for a job to function safely.
Critical to safety is always remembering to:
- Ensure walking surfaces are level
- Remove scraps out of the way, especially lumber with protruding nails.
- Keep walkways and stairs clean of debris
- Clean the site on a daily basis at the very least.
Separate bathroom facilities are required per every 20 employees or fewer (of each sex) on a job site.
So, if you’re employing 30 men and 10 women, the site is required to have at least three restrooms.
The restroom may contain a toilet and urinal, but half of them must have a toilet.
If your site has less than 5 employees on site, separating bathrooms for sexes is no longer required, so long as they can be locked and contain a toilet.
Common sense tells us that bathrooms should, at the minimum, always be in the following condition(s):
- Stocked with adequate toilet paper
- In good working order
- Cleaned on a daily basis
Site access to clean drinking water is legally required.
This can be done by providing plumbed drinking fountains (water fountains) or clean portable containers.
Never dip containers into the water in order to fill them.
Also, when there is a non-potable (unsanitary to drink from) water source on the site, it must be clearly labeled, indicating the water is not safe for drinking, washing or cooking.
For every twenty employees on a job site, one washing station is required.
Washing facilities allow workers to wash their hands and therefore, avoid cross-contaminating before eating, drinking, smoking, or any other activity that puts hands near the mouth.
While it is recommended to wear proper safety gloves, hands still get dirty.
A washing area also serves as a space to decontaminate personal protective equipment (PPE).
This is especially important when workers are handling substances such as paint, solvents, coatings or other potentially harmful materials.
A compliant washing station should:
- Be cleaned regularly
- Supplied with water, soap and other cleaning compounds.
- Have single-use drying towels or warm air blow dryers (as required by law)
- Be located outside of the portable toilet(s).
- Always be clearly labeled
If your job site has five or fewer employees and therefore, only one restroom facility, the washing station may be located within the portable bathroom.
It is important each individual does their part to institute proper and compliant construction site hygiene.
Always report unsanitary or hazardous conditions to your manager or supervisor.
Most construction workers wouldn’t place ‘cleaning’ near the top of their favorite aspects of the job, but that is no excuse.
Clean as you go. Keep walkways and your working space clear of debris and hazardous substances (which should always be labeled). Use washing facilities to keep your hands clean.
Construction site hygiene is a key ingredient in operating a safe work environment.
What is your experience with construction site hygiene?
Are your daily working conditions in compliance with all of the above? We would love to hear from you on social media.