Port a potty at construction sites?

Is there a code or law that requires a port a potty at construction sites? Sometimes I see really small sites with one. For example a site across the street where they are just building one house has a port a potty.

I know laws vary by state so is the requirement in most states?


In the uK, supplying and servicing portable toilets (they are not Porta Potties) has become quite a big business. Since they all seem to conform to a single pattern, I assume that it’s a franchise business.

Even the guys digging a trench in a nearby road have one and outdoor festivals have hundreds. I guess it’s a basic ‘human right’ to be able to have a shit in private.

Just for illustration, my daughter worked for a really shitty McDonald’s for about a year, one that forbid counter clerks from leaving their mat for four hours at a stretch. She had an unending series of bladder infections from the combination of not being able to pee and staying dehydrated so she wouldn’t have to. (It was a situation beyond my control and knowledge or I would have seen the place padlocked and bulldozed.)

For a while, the Google street view picture of our house showed the portable toilet the construction crew put in the front yard when they were doing some renovations.

I asked them why they kept it locked, and they said, “If we don’t, the mailman will use it.” Perplexing on many levels.

There might be liability in some way.

The service contract may specify the unit(s) be emptied on a schedule based on the number of users. If others use the potties, it will result in over-full units and additional fees.

Better that than him dodging behind a side-wall.

Aside from health of the employers, I assume the city/ community where the construction (or outdoor festival) takes place has a vested interest to not have people shit on the ground where it can seep and contaminate the ground water. Because, you know, that’s what people did in ages past, and the result were cholera outbreaks.

It’s also bad for the buildings to get pissed on (urine contains ammonia). So it’s cheaper to pay the potty than remove the results of wild peeing.

Porta-Potties are outrageously expensive, not to say lucrative but there’s some serious coin involved. They are subject to mischief and vandalism and all sorts of things sane people would rather not know about.

I’m sure three people for a couple days is no issue … but thirty people over a year … all that pee is going to stink really bad … nevermind what comes out of the typical construction worker’s exit hole …

If we didn’t lock the damn things up at night … homeless people would move in …

I found in interesting when we were having some construction done to an auditorium on campus, the lobby remained open and the restrooms functional and cleaned everyday. Even so, the construction company brought their own portable toilet and set it up outside, and the workers appeared to use it exclusively.

The equivalent of a car service place putting paper mats on the floor and a plastic cover on the driver’s seat. Even clean construction gets dirty and no one wants muddy bootprints in the loo.

I can’t imagine any US state where this would not violate local state employment laws, in addition to Federal ones. The Federal OSHA regulations are rather vague (“Employers may not impose unreasonable restrictions…”), but many state laws have more detailed laws, giving specific time limits.

So why was that beyond your control?
You should have been able to demand that they provide reasonable bathroom breaks, and report them to both OSHA & your state authorities. (And to McDonalds corporate office.) Like any concerned father would have done.

And if you didn’t know about it until later, you could still have filed suit against them for the medical problems this caused her, and the pain & suffering involved. A jury would have likely been sympathetic. Especially if your lawyer objected every time the judge allowed a bathroom break for the jury.

Local church is building a big expansion but I did not see a port a potty there. Maybe I overlooked it.

Perhaps they had existing restrooms available for the construction crew?

Not only Porta-a-Potties but water is also furnished by the contractor. Plus others things for the health and safety of the workers.

They are not free, this is an expense to the project. When the contractor is doing his estimate those 2 costs, plus others are just calculated in. The owner is the one that pays for it. Cost will vary around the country but say 175 - 350 per week, water would be 35 to 65 per week for small job.

Wow! That’s expensive. A single Chemical Toilet, including weekly servicing, would cost around £30 a week here. Less for longer periods and multiple units.

They are a couple hundred bucks a day, and this was several years ago. The .mil uses them a lot (no more digging slit trenches for the special snowflakes, I guess) and remember being gobsmacked at the expense.

Yes. Construction sites have to have sanitation facilities. When I worked construction, we had a contract with the port-a-potty company. And the first thing we did we the houses we renovated was get the water and electricity going.

Many, many years ago, when I was a residential electrician, we never had porta potties. I don’t know if there was a law, or the general never coughed up the money.

When we arrive on the site it is framed and with a roof. You just went behind the building to whiz. It was normal.

We had a female apprentice. She was a very good sparky. But, when she had to pottie, she took the company truck to the nearest bathroom.

When a lay-off came, she was let go. I assumed it was because of the bathroom breaks. Because her performance was super.

Tragic story. Very glad times have changed.