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Restroom laws can get complicated. It may seem simple on the surface, but there are safety and human rights concerns with bathrooms.

However, as a business, you need to know how to supply the correct bathroom provisions. That starts with bathroom signs – without them, you aren’t complying with the law, and that leaves you open to lawsuits.

From gender expression to cleanliness, there are numerous factors to consider with bathrooms laws. Restroom signs form just one part of that, and we’re here to explain everything you need.

UK Bathroom Laws, Explained

The HSE explains that under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Regulation 20, bathrooms must have:

  • Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences
  • No prejudice in sanitary conveniences
  • Separate male and female toilets
  • Ventilation and regular cleaning

However, as we’ll explain below, bathroom laws aren’t as clear cut as the above sets out.

Building Regulations For Toilet Provision

According to The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the minimum amount of toilets is as follows:

  • Up to five people – one toilet
  • Up to 25 people – two toilets
  • Up to 50 people – three toilets

These toilets require an official means of flushing, with enough toilet roll and a coat hook. Women’s bathrooms must have adequate disposal facilitates for sanitary items.

A bathroom should have washing facilities:

  • Near the toilet
  • Near changing rooms
  • That has access to warm and cold water
  • Which are well-ventilated, clean and equipped

As part of being “equipped”, toilets need to have the correct signs. In particular, signposting disabled bathrooms needs the utmost attention.

Signposting Disabled Bathrooms

The Equality Act 2010 states that signposting disabled signs is essential. Easily seen labels and signs are a baseline requirement. 

The design of bathrooms must accommodate all disabilities, too, from mental to physical.

We have covered how to use disabled bathroom signs in our blog post: Disabled Guidance Safety Signs: What Does The Legislation Say?

The Equality Act 2010, Gender Assignment and The Role of Restroom Signs

The Equality Act 2010 governs the use of gender toilet signs. The law protects gender assignment. The legislation reads:

A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.

However, there is a note in the law that the bathroom provider can ignore the gender a person identifies as if “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. Meeting this condition is difficult.

As a business, you can get sued if you refuse a male-to-female or female-to-male transgender person from using their gender identified bathroom. In case law, a transgender woman in 2014 sued a pub as they refused her from using the woman’s bathroom.

The government advises not to make just gender-neutral bathrooms to solve this problem. There should be neutral, male and female toilets available. Disabled bathrooms, as mentioned, are essential too. In this case, “male” and “female” is not considered a person’s sex but a person’s gender identity.

Discover Our Range of Toilet Signs Today

To ensure you meet the latest bathroom sign laws, then discover our range of toilet signs. We have signs for male, female, gender-neutral and disabled bathrooms. These are designed to last for the long term and can be clearly seen and understood.

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