Hygiene and sanitary conditions (changing rooms, bathrooms, kitchen facilities, dining facilities and rest rooms, and sometimes mini-gyms and places for other forms of relaxation) play a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable, safe and healthy working environment for you and for your workers.
In accordance with the Regulation on the general rules of occupational health and safety, hygiene and sanitary facilities include:
- changing rooms;
- washrooms, toilets, shower rooms and personal hygiene facilities for women;
- dining facilities (except for canteens);
- facilities where workers can shelter from the cold;
- facilities for washing, disinfecting, drying and dedusting working clothes, protective clothes and personal protective equipment.
- Employers must provide hygiene and sanitary facilities and equipment to workers. The type, number and size of these facilities and equipment should be appropriate for the number of workers, the technologies applied, the types of work and working conditions.
- Employers must maintain the hygiene and sanitary facilities and equipment in such a way that they remain safe and healthy to use.
- The hygiene and sanitary facilities should be located in the same building in which work is performed or in a building connected by an enclosed passageway, which should be heated if workers leave heated workrooms. This does not apply to toilets equipped with tight holding tanks and facilities where workers working outdoors can get warm.
- The hygiene and sanitary facilities should be located in such a way that workers who use them do not go through facilities where poisonous substances or infectious materials are used or particularly dirty work is performed, unless these workers have contact with these agents.
- The hygiene and sanitary facilities should be heated, lit and ventilated in accordance with technical and construction provisions and Polish standards.
- The floor and walls of the hygiene and sanitary facilities should be easy to clean.
- The clear height of the hygiene and sanitary facilities should not be less than 2.5 m (except for public baths, whose height should be at least 3.0 m). The clear height of the facilities may be reduced to 2.2 m if they are located in basements, cellars or attics (except for public toilets and baths).
- If factors harmful to health are not present in establishments, dirty work is not performed or special sanitary requirements do not apply, areas where meals are eaten and clothes are stored, and washbasins may be located in one room.
- Employers who employ workers with disabilities must adapt the hygiene and sanitary equipment to these persons’ needs and abilities and make it accessible to these persons in accordance with technical and construction provisions.
- Employers who employ up to 20 workers must provide at least toilets and washbasins and ensure that own (house) clothes, working clothes and protective clothes are stored and meals are eaten in hygienic conditions.
In washrooms and shower rooms, insulation pads must be placed on floors made from highly thermally conductive materials in places where workers wash themselves.
Separate washrooms, shower rooms and toilets should be provided for men and for women. If up to 10 persons work on one shift, facilities may be shared, provided that it is ensured that they can be used separately.
Requirements for washrooms
- At least two (2x) air changes per hour must be provided in a washroom, whereas at least five (5x) air changes per hour must be provided in shower rooms.
- There should be at least one shower cubicle for each eight workers on the largest shift performing dirty work.
- If, as part of their work, workers handle or are exposed to poisonous, infectious, radioactive, irritant or sensitising substances and other malodorous substances, or are exposed to dust in a humid and hot microclimate or if they perform particularly dirty work, there must be at least one shower cubicle for each five workers, and at least one if fewer workers are employed.
- If a central control system or a collective water mixing system is used, the hot water temperature should range from 35° C to 40 °C. If an individual water mixing system is used, the temperature should range from 50 °C to 60 °C.
Requirements for toilets
- Toilets should be located no more than 75 m from workstations. The distance may be greater for workers working permanently outdoors, but cannot exceed 125 m from the farthest workstation.
- They should have a containment room at the front, equipped with washbasins with hot and cold water (at least one washbasin for three toilet bowls or urinals, and no less than one if there are fewer toilet bowls or urinals).
- In buildings, there should be toilets on each floor. If fewer than 10 persons work on a floor, toilets may be located no further than on the next floor.
- Toilet bowls and urinals installed in toilets should be flushed with running water and connected to a sewage system.
Requirements for changing rooms
A changing room complex should comprise easily accessible washrooms that ensure unobstructed movement of workers who have already washed and changed into their own clothes.
Women should have a separate changing room, unless fewer than five persons work on one shift, in which case there can be a shared changing room. Changing cubicles should be provided for women.
Types of changing rooms:
- changing rooms for workers’ own clothes, used for storing clothes belonging to workers (these clothes should not come into contact with working clothes and personal protective equipment);
- changing rooms for working clothes and protective clothes, used for storing working clothes and shoes and personal protective equipment;
- standard changing rooms, used for storing workers’ own clothes as well as working clothes and personal protective equipment;
- air-locked changing rooms, consisting of a part used for storing workers’ own clothes, a part for working clothes and personal protective equipment and an air-locked sanitary complex with showers, connecting both these parts.
Changing rooms should:
- be located in separate or dedicated rooms, dry and, where possible, with natural daylight;
- have seats for at least half of workers on the largest shift;
- provide four (4x) air changes per hour, and not less than two (2x) air changes per hour in rooms with openable windows intended for up to 10 workers;
- be equipped with washbasins with hot and cold running water.
Employers who employ more than 20 workers on one shift must provide dining facilities where the workers can eat meals. Dining facilities need not be organised if only office work is performed in establishments.
Types of dining facilities:
- dining facilities for eating own meals (type I),
- dining facilities for eating own meals and dispensing beverages (type II),
- dining facilities providing supportive meals (type III).
Rest areas for women and nursing mothers
An area where pregnant women and nursing mothers can lie down and rest must be provided in establishments employing more than 20 women per shift in one building, with at least one place for each 300 women on one shift (at least one if there are fewer women).
Special laundry rooms
Special laundry rooms equipped with mechanical washing machines should be provided in establishments if working clothes or protective clothes that need washing could contaminate other clothes washed together with them or if they are particularly dirty, and if special production hygiene requirements must be met.
Facilities used for shelter
Facilities where workers can shelter from precipitation, get warm and change their clothes must be provided next to places of work if work is performed outdoors or in unheated rooms. These facilities should be equipped with appliances for heating meals. The temperature in the facilities should be at least 16 °C.