In the quest to make skilled trades more accessible to women, construction industries in various regions are looking at requiring women-only restrooms on worksites. Indeed, Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s labor minister, proposed amending rules for construction sites to improve bathrooms and offer some only for women.
There may be an opportunity for portable restroom operators to provide sex-specific units that differ slightly from your standard porta-potties. Will this idea take off? And how difficult is it to convert a restroom to a women-only portable toilet? Get the answers to these questions and more below.
In March 2023, McNaughton asked workers to share their “bathroom horror stories,” according to CHCH News. Men and women complied, sending tales of poor conditions, from no hand soap to unsanitary spaces. The Ministry of Labor completed an inspection of more than 1,800 construction sites. It found 244 violations. The top three issues included insufficient toilets, a lack of privacy, and unclean restrooms.
During McNaughton’s announcement, he proposed several changes, like large construction sites having at least one women’s-only portable restroom. Additional recommendations include adequate lighting, completely enclosed single units, and hand sanitizer for areas without running water. If the Ontario government files and approves these requests, they will go into effect on July 1.
While there haven’t been any announcements, regulations are constantly changing, and many regions see an increased interest in separating the sexes. Likewise, several large construction agencies actively recruit women to the workforce, and providing separate standalone stalls is one way to show they’re serious about their initiatives.
Indeed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers it a best practice. OSHA says, “Employers should provide separate bathrooms for male and female workers and also, a container of hand sanitizer and if the work is at night, maintain bathroom facilities in an open area that is well illuminated.”
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There are a few distinct differences between toilets for men and women. Although some portable restroom businesses take it further with pink units, you can often alter existing ones for construction use. Of course, you may consider buying more elegant solutions for upscale events, including women-only and family restrooms.
Portable toilets for women:
Arguably, women prefer single-sex bathrooms to avoid the “rim-up” or “wet seat” incidents from sharing restrooms with men. Some PROs see less graffiti and damage on women-only units, which can be a bonus but not a guarantee.
Marketing possibilities always arise, and you can take advantage of them with targeted promotions. Consider converting a construction unit to a women-only model and having your sales staff offer a soft promotion. See if there’s interest and be ready to shift your focus to accommodate new regulations or industry needs.
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