March 1, 2023

The Purple Guide Summary for Events - Sanitation

We’ve created an overview of the Event Industry Purple Guide to give you an idea of the things you need to consider when planning your toilet, welfare unit, hand washing or servicing and emptying needs. We would always recommend you read The Purple Guide in full to have complete knowledge and understanding of what you are required to provide., but this quick summary will help you draw up your task list for all things toilet related.

Do consider

-Supplying adequate toilet and washing facilities to control health risks. Lack of sufficient toilets may also result in illness, and serious wrath from your visitors. Skimping on your toilet facilities can make or break your event. Portable toilets are particularly useful if there is no access to mains sewerage on your site.

-Providing disabled / special needs toilets. These can also be fitted with baby change facilities too.

-You can’t ignore The Disability Discrimination Act 2005, sanitary accommodation for people with special needs or who are elderly or infirm. They may take longer to use a  facility and need adequate provision and access.

Weight up

-Audience size  and demographics and peak user times  (eg during an interval). Rapid and constant use of any toilet can cause them to fill quickly, become unsanitary and prone to blockages.

-Your audiences' food and fluid intake, the more food and drink on offer the more your toilets will be used, especially if alcohol is available.

-The benefits of hiring Males and females urinals as they can increase throughput and reduce queuing. Provide traditional female toilets for those who can’t or won’t use female urinals. Always consider the age and profile of the audience and whether it’s appropriate to include them.

Don't forget

The duration of your event and the location and type of venue, e.g. field, stadium. Place toilets by car parks, box-office queuing areas, event campsites, etc. Put toilets for events workers close to work locations too.

Weather conditions and temperature are a constant headache of the UK event industry, so consider ground conditions for service drivers emptying your toilets or effluent  tanks. By nature, tanker lorries are large and very heavy, you don’t want them stuck in muddy areas unable to reach your facilities. Access requirements for servicing and  emptying are so important. Do you need temporary roadways and dedicated access routes on site? This could be the safety and quickest way to get your servicing done.

Talk to  your local Environment Agency and Local Authority regarding your event and  ask for any local guidelines ensuring you meet safe and hygienic requirements.

Bear in mind 

The Emptying and cleaning times (as well as access) to your loos or effluents tank. What are the peak time of usage of your toilet units? Rapid and constant use of any toilet can cause the bowls to become unsanitary – have staff on hand to carry out regular cleaning.

Ensure the surrounding ground doesn’t become waterlogged, leading to the area flooding and the risk of slipping or fall because of deep ruts caused by heavy wheels.

It's wise to supply shower facilities on site for events longer than one day, or when overnight camping is available.

Don't Overlook

Hand wash basins can cause similar or even greater queuing than for WC’s, especially for female toilets – so hire enough. Where possible. Provide at  least one hand-washing facility per ten toilets. What hand washing  facilities do you have?

Warm-water  handwashing facilities and adequate supplies of suitable soap as the most effective means for cleaning hands. Antiseptic hand wipes or bactericidal soap/gel can be provided, but organisers should be aware that  these are only effective when hands are not visibly contaminated (for  example, by mud).

Have a good understanding of your audience size and likely male to female ratio when determining the number of toilets required for your event. If you don’t know the number attending, assume a 50:50 male /female 50:50 split.

Here is what the Purple Guide Suggests for Toilet Ratios. Remember this is a minimum, you can choose to have more than this (and keep your event-goes even happier in the process).

If you need advice on what facilities you need and quantities our Hire Team have a wealth of experience in the field.

Give us a call or email us and we’d be happy to talk to you about your requirements.


Event Toilets -You can also view our Event toilet product sheet here.

Disabled Access toilets - You can view our disabled access toilet product sheet here.

4 bay urinals - You can view our 4 bay urinal product sheet here.

Jeannie Hoddinott

Jeannie has copywritten blogs for many years in several industries including sustainable transport, health, the charity sector and sanitation.
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