- Provide potable drinking water to workers in the field
- Provide toilets and handwashing facilities when workers perform field work for more than 3 hours in a day (including transportation time to and from the field)
- Provide reasonable opportunities throughout the day to use these facilities
- Maintain facilities in accordance with public health standards
- Provide all facilities at no cost to workers
What happens when field sanitation facilities are not provided?
- Workers in the field without clean and cool water to drink are at higher risk of dehydration, heat stress, and heat illness.
- When workers have too few bathroom breaks, they may be at risk for urinary tract infections and incontinence, as well as other bladder, bowel, and kidney problems.
- A farmworker who is unable to wash their hands risks extended exposure to harmful parasites, bacteria, viruses, and agricultural chemical residues. Additionally, unwashed hands may result in contamination of agricultural products.
- Failure to provide the required facilities may result in the issuance of citations, the assessment of penalties, and other actions as appropriate.
What do I need to provide to comply with the OSHA Field Sanitation Standard?
- At least one toilet facility and one handwashing facility must be provided for every 20 workers. For example, 21 workers require two toilet facilities and two handwashing facilities.
- Doors of toilet facilities must be self-closing, able to be locked from the inside, and provide privacy.
- The toilet facility must be reasonably close to the handwashing facility. Both must generally be within a ¼ mile walk of the worker’s place of work in the field.
- Toilet facilities must be operational and sanitary.
- Handwashing facilities must have soap, potable water, and single-use towels.
- Cool drinking water must be placed in locations readily accessible to all employees.
- Drinking containers must be covered and regularly cleaned.
- There must be enough drinking water for the workers.
- Water must be dispensed in single-use cups or fountains. The use of common drinking cups or dippers is prohibited.
Is there anything else I must do to comply with the field sanitation standard?
- Notify each worker of the location of the sanitation facilities and water
- Allow workers reasonable opportunities to use the facilities
- Inform workers to:
- Use the water and facilities
- Drink water frequently and especially on hot days
- Urinate as frequently as necessary
- Wash hands both before and after using the toilet
- Wash hands before eating and smoking
Other Related Facts
- 34% of the agricultural workforce in the United States is female. Dehydration and heat pose particular risks to people who are pregnant or nursing.
- When working in the heat, workers should drink ¾ - 1 quart (between three and four 8-ounce glasses) of water every hour.
- A worker can lose up to 10-12 liters of perspiration on a hot workday.
- Cool water is more quickly absorbed into the blood to form perspiration for evaporative cooling than other liquids. It also tastes better and thus encourages workers to drink.
- Proper hydration is essential to prevent heat-related illness.
- Studies have shown that handwashing with soap, along with other interventions, is associated with decreased pesticide exposure.