waste advice from ZTERS

Ask Angela: Do I really need temporary fencing on my construction worksite?

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Hi Angela, We’re doing a small new build on a vacant lot. It’s not near a lot of foot traffic, but there are a couple of main roads and other businesses nearby. It’s also near a residential area. Is construction temporary fencing really necessary? What are our options?

Angela: Hey there, thanks for asking. This is a great question. First of all, it’s ultimately up to you and the ordinances in your area whether temporary fencing is required or not. So, check that first. However, if you’re near businesses and residences you may want to consider safety and liability risks if unauthorized people make their way onto your worksite.

You have a few options with temporary fencing for construction sites. Basic fence panels are often used on small, short projects like the one you described. The most common sizes are 6’ x 10’ or 6’ x 12’, and they come with stands that are weighted down with sandbags or concrete blocks. Temporary fencing panels are easy to set up. If you have a small job, you can probably install the fencing yourself with your crew.

Of course, we can always help you schedule delivery and setup. Some areas, especially on federal properties, require temporary fencing to be installed by union workers at prevailing wages. If you’re not sure whether that applies to your project, we’ll be able to find out and let you know.

When using fence panels, you may want to add an optional wind screen (also called privacy screen or scrims). If privacy or security are issues, you’ll probably be better off with a temporary post-driven chain link fence. But you can definitely add privacy screen to fence panels if you use heavy sandbags to weight them down. If you put wind screen on regular panel fencing, it’ll act as a sail…so if the wind kicks up you’ll find yourself with fencing panels flying all over the place!

Post-driven chain link fencing is the most common temporary fencing we see with our customers. This is when metal posts are sunk in the ground and chain link fencing is installed around the perimeter of the worksite. You can add privacy screen, or leave it uncovered. It’s best for projects that will go on for a while and where you want a little extra security on the site. It’s harder for unauthorized people to get through chain link than it is to move fencing panels.

With panels or post-driven chain link, you’re able to add vehicle gates and personnel gates. You can see there are lots of options, even if you have a small worksite. We can even help you order plastic orange safety fencing if you only need to temporarily fence off heavy equipment or electrical units.

If you’re not sure how much fencing you need, we’ve built an interactive fencing tool that’ll help you figure out how much to rent and where to position gates. Or, you can always give us a call and we’ll walk you though it. Good luck with your new building!

construction portable toilets lined up

OSHA Rules for Construction Portable Toilets

On construction sites, whether new builds or renovations, construction companies are obligated under OSHA law to provide access to toilet and sanitation facilities. Construction portable toilets are the way you meet this need, but do you know the rules around how many to rent? If you’re in charge of a construction site, you know you need to ensure your site follows all OSHA rules and regulations. So here’s a closer look at what you need to provide.

How many construction porta potties do you need?

OSHA law dictates employers must provide “adequate and readily accessible sanitation facilities.” But what does that mean, exactly? When it comes to construction porta potties, the number of toilets is based on how many employees are at the worksite at any given time. The OSHA breakdown for toilets is the following:

  • One toilet per gender for one to 15 employees
  • Two toilets per gender for 16 to 35 employees
  • Three toilets per gender for 36 to 55 employees
  • Four toilets per gender for 56 to 80 employees
  • Five toilets per gender for 81 to 110 employees
  • An additional toilet per gender for each additional 40 employees
  • After 200 employees, the number drops to one per 50

A single-occupancy toilet with a locking door counts for both genders, and in addition, temporary worksites may not have to follow these rules if there’s a plumbed toilet nearby or easy transportation to a nearby toilet facility.

There are also voluntary consensus standards in the construction industry. These recommend providing one toilet for every 10 employees during a 40-hour workweek. But if you have crew members on different shifts, or working more than 40 hours a week, it’s a good idea to have extra toilets on site.

Types of construction portable toilets

Believe it or not, there’s more than one type of porta potty. For example, some only have urinals. If you have a primarily male crew, you can order urinal porta potties as long as no more than two-thirds of the facilities are urinal-only. There are also portable toilet trailers with more than one toilet stall inside.

Another option is ordering an ADA-compliant porta potty to accommodate workers with physical disabilities. There are no specific requirements for ADA-accessible toilets, but these should be provided if employees need them. And what if you have sewer toilets on site? If you’re working on a renovation where plumbed facilities are operational, you may not need portable toilets at all. Check local ordinances.

Requirements for hand washing

Hand washing facilities in or near toilets are required, so be sure to ask what’s included in your rental. If hot and cold water aren’t available, then a hand sanitizing gel is required to be mounted in or near the portable toilets. And if the porta potty includes soap and water, then it must also include single-use hand towels or a hand-drying air blower. If your crew members will be exposed to chemicals on the job, you’ll also need a hand washing station in a convenient location.

On a related note, what about eye washing stations? There aren’t a lot of instances where you’ll need a dedicated eye washing station, but if your crew is working with or around chemicals, then you may need to rent one. If you need one on your worksite, give us a call and we can find one to bundle with your other temporary services.

Cleaning and servicing porta potties

The American National Standards Institute recommends cleaning construction portable toilets once per week, or renting additional toilets for the worksite if they can’t be serviced weekly. If you’ve ever seen a porta potty go without service for more than a week, you know why that recommendation is in place.

If you have questions about construction porta potty rentals, give us a call. We’ve helped put portable toilets on thousands of worksites across the country, and we can help you bundle all your temporary services with one phone call.