Ontario OHSA Changes for Construction Worksites – What Employers Need to Know

  • Legislative updates
male and female construction workers
Charlie Herrera Vacaflor

Charlie Herrera Vacaflor, Employment Law & HR Content Senior Consultant

(Last updated )

On January 1, 2024, the government of Ontario made further adjustments to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to help keep workers safe with the introduction of Bill 190. These OHSA changes focus on developing better hygiene and sanitation and workplace safety at worksites. They are aimed at improving conditions for women in the industry and increasing their workforce participation.

Are constructors required to provide washrooms for workers?

In mid-2023, a “bathroom inspection blitz” of construction sites revealed a high number of occupational health and safety breaches in washroom and clean-up facilities (i.e., poor cleaning, lack of privacy, and no toilets provided). This triggered stricter amendments to the OHSA, which include:

  • Distance to washroom facilities - The distance from the work area to the nearest toilet, urinal, and clean-up facilities on construction sites has been reduced. Previously, these facilities could be as far as 180 meters away. Now, they should be no more than 90 meters away if it’s reasonably possible to do so.
  • Requirements for toilet conditions – Toilets must have open front toilet seat, toilet paper holder (with adequate supply of toilet paper), a self-closing door that can be locked from the inside, adequate ventilation, and guarantee reasonable privacy for the user. Single toilet facilities must be completely enclosed, except for portable urinals.
  • Number of washroom facilities on site - Construction sites must have at least five toilet facilities on site. At least one of these must be for the use of female workers only (with proper signage). It must also include a disposal receptable for menstrual products in the female-only facilities.
  •  Toilet in remote areas - Where not reasonably possible to provide sewered or non-sewered toilet facilities, employers must provide other type of toilet facilities. Where reasonably possible, employers must comply with providing running hot and cold water. Facilities should be adequately heated during cold weather.
  •  Clean up facilities - Employers must provide clean-up facilities that are readily accessible with each single toilet facility. When it is not reasonably practicable to have a wash basin with running water at a clean-up facility, employers must provide a means for workers to clean their hands and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Are all construction employers required to provide menstrual products?

As of January 1, 2025, construction employers will have a duty to provide menstrual products (including tampons and pads) to workers at any project where work is expected to last 3-months or more and where 20 or more workers are regularly employed. Menstrual products must be kept clean and hygienic and should be provided in one or more locations at the project. At least one location should be reasonably accessible and offer privacy.

Have questions about the changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)?

Our certified health & safety advisors can help you understand your responsibilities as an employer and answer any questions you may have. Our experts can also help you implement, update, and review company policies, as well as assist you with any HRhealth & safety, and employee issues that may arise. Call 1 (833) 247-3653 today to learn more about how our services can benefit your business. 

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