Water and Sanitary Facilities in the Field

Man entering porta potty

According to California and federal law, employers must provide water (for drinking and handwashing) and toilet facilities for their workers in the field. The law also requires employers to notify each worker where the water and toilet facilities are, and to allow the workers reasonable opportunities during the workday to use the facilities.

Drinking water must be:

  • fit to drink (potable), in adequate supply, and readily accessible to all workers
  • in dispensers that are kept clean
  • in dispensers not located in toilet rooms

people drinking
hand getting water from jug

  • in dispensers that are equipped with faucets or fountains
  • dispensed using single-use/disposable drinking cups, not using dippers

Handwashing facility must be:
  • potable and in adequate supply
  • supplied with soap


paper towel dispenser
  • supplied with single-use towels
  • where pipes carrying nonpotable substances (water or chemicals) are clearly marked and installed so drinking or handwashing water systems are not contaminated by backflow. This system also prevents employees from using them for drinking or handwashing.
person washing hands with hose

Toilet facilities must be:

  • separate for males and females. The number of toilets is set by law and is determined by the number of employees.

male and female toilets
locking mechanism

  • Exception: If there are less than five employees, separate toilets may not be required as long as the toilet room can be locked from the inside.
  • kept clean and in good working order
  • supplied with an adequate supply of toilet paper
  • accessible to employees at all times. Where practicable, toilets must be within 200 feet where the workers are working.
  • where all water-carried sewage is disposed of in a manner that shall not endanger the health of the workers

toilet paper roll

For more thorough information about these Cal/OSHA field sanitation laws, please contact your County Agricultural Commissioner.

Safety and Awareness Training for Agricultural Workers
UC Agricultural Health and Safety Center
and Agricultural Promotion System
NIOSH Cooperative Agreements
U05/CCU906055 and 906055-01
Department of Applied Behavioral Sciences
University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More