Given there is so many people that can be in a work space is there a minimum amount of bathroom the same space has to have?

Who would oversee such rules and make sure that the rule is enforced? How can I find out what the requirements are for my location, and what to do if the facilities I work at are not up to code?

Asking specifically for the United States.

  • Usually these things are actually regulated by the Health Department. Jan 17, 2018 at 20:47
  • yes, there are minimums, but they are quite low and (i think) set by the state. there are also federal laws under ADA.
    – dandavis
    Jan 17, 2018 at 21:22
  • Hire a licensed "building code inspector" to do their job and write a report. That's exactly what they're for :-)
    – teego1967
    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:08

3 Answers 3


According to OSHA:

  • Provide an adequate number of restrooms for the size of the workforce to prevent long lines
  • Do not impose unreasonable restrictions on restroom use
  • Ensure restrictions, such as locking doors or requiring workers to sign out a key, do not cause extended delays
  • Allow workers to leave their work locations to use a restroom when needed

I know there are other factors involved, but this is what most companies will go by as a starting point. The regulations are not hard and fast allowing the employer flexibility, notice the wording from the website.

OSHA link included for all the details you could want. OSSA Bathroom Regs

  • 1
    Thanks for the link. Strange that there are no regulations that is a mathematical formula, more of a: "You have to have a bathroom that people can get to". I guess there is also no regulation on size and location either?
    – Denis W
    Jan 17, 2018 at 21:52
  • 1
    @DenisW That information's in the linked regulations. For small offices it starts by incrementing to 2 stalls at 16 people, for very large ones it eventually reaches 1 per 40 additional workers; for mens rooms with urinals the counting is slightly different (2nd link). osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/… osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/… Jan 18, 2018 at 0:17

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) section 213 (pdf) specifies that the location of restrooms must be accessible to all:

213 Toilet Facilities and Bathing Facilities

213.1 General. Where toilet facilities and bathing facilities are provided, they shall comply with 213. Where toilet facilities and bathing facilities are provided in facilities permitted by 206.2.3 Exceptions 1 and 2 not to connect stories by an accessible route, toilet facilities and bathing facilities shall be provided on a story connected by an accessible route to an accessible entrance.

Section 213 also specifies the number of toilet rooms required:

no fewer than one toilet room for each sex complying with 603 or one unisex toilet room complying with 213.2.1 shall be provided.

Section 603 specifies the design of toilet rooms and plumbing in detail. These requirements are neatly summarized in a third-party article called The ADA Compliant Restroom:

  • 30-inch by 48-inch access to the sink (the door can’t swing into this rectangle). The measurement starts from the point where a person has 9-inch vertical clearance for their feet and 27-inch vertical clearance for their knees.
  • The center line of the toilet must be between 16 and 18 inches from the side wall.
  • A clear circle of at least 60 inches around the side wall and 56 inches from the rear wall to allow a wheelchair to turn (the door cannot swing into the minimum required area for wheelchair-accessible toilet compartments).
  • A toilet seat height of 17-19 inches.

There is more information about the ADA also at access-board.gov.

  • Nice find, I don't know how osha and this legislation intersect.
    – Neo
    Jan 17, 2018 at 22:51

Both @IamSoNotListening and @shoover have provided great answers from a Federal perspective but it is important to remember that in the United States laws are also designated at the state and local level as well.

OSHA and ADA lay out general outlines for requirements of businesses (and are a good start) but I think you may be looking for something more specific that will only be found in your local building codes for commercial zoning.

These will largely be state and municipality dependent so you'll have to search online (or talk to a general contractor) to get the rules for your area (key search words being: city, building code, zoning laws). Typically codes will be divided by specialty (such as electric code, plumbing code, fire codes, etc..). Also typically there will be separate codes depending on the type of zoning you are working with (single family home residential, multiple family home residential, commercial, industrial, etc..)

So for example, if your business is in the city of Denver, Colorado you would refer to this Denver Build Codes, Policies and Guidelines link. Other cities, states, and municipalities will have their own version of this information. Worst case scenario - if you live in a very small town - you may need to go down to your local courthouse in order to get a hold of these laws. In that case, I might recommend talking to a lawyer or professional builder who is familiar with the codes.

Lastly, you asked about enforcement... OSHA has it's own enforcement policies but there are also state employed building inspectors who are usually required to sign-off on any new building or major renovations. These same departments will also field complaints about building compliance. Just keep in mind that many older buildings are grandfathered into less stringent rules until they make a major renovation so at the end of the day you might be better served chatting with one of these building inspectors before you file any official complaints.

  • Did you mean designated or delegated when talking about the state and local laws?
    – Donald
    Jan 19, 2018 at 15:37

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