Toilets in workplace - is it acceptable for colleague to come with you

Hi not been on here in a while Is it acceptable that you have to come to the toilet area with you in a workplace ? I fell at work at beginning of the year in toilet. I pulled cord but wasn’t responded to as light not noticeable in the warehouse environment. Now i have to have a colleague come with me and wait around in case i need assistance. I don’t know whether this is seen as acceptable? I feel like my independence has been removed that i now need to ask to go to toilet. I sit at my desk wondering whether i do really need to go or can i wait. I am finding it affecting me mentally as well as physically.

Hi Barney. I suppose your employer thinks they’re doing the right thing. However, common sense tells me that to move the alert light to a more visible place is the better option. Talk to a manager. Your employer has a duty of care for the employee in the workplace, but you have the right to maintain your dignity and independence there also. There are all sorts of laws to do with the workplace. Start with a discreet chat with the management.

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Poppy is absolutely right. It’s like you’ve been infantilised by your employer by insisting that you have company when you need the loo. It’s like putting your hand up to ask if you can go to the toilet!

Yes, your employer probably has your welfare at heart, but imo this doesn’t seem the best way to fix the problem.

Moving the alert light to somewhere that it will be seen seems only realistic. Having more support bars, etc in the loo might help too. You may be less likely to fall with greater support.

Perhaps you could speak to your manager or the HR department and explain that while you understand their reasoning, it’s not exactly very good for you mentally or physically. There must be another solution!


Thanks for your responses. I just wanted some feedback whether i was being unreasonable by not wanting to have to take someone with me. I am going to chase up with my manager again and indicate how i am feeling by the current setup.

Agree with the replies you’ve had. What would happen if the colleague wasn’t available or didn’t feel comfortable about accompanying you? Having to have someone with you impinges on your independence. As Poppy says the toilet ‘alarm’ should be visible and someone designated to respond to the alarm being raised,

Could you just take your phone with you or ask someone to check if you haven’t returned within a set time?

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That’s possible mrbobowen of course, but it isn’t the answer. There could be many “what ifs” . What if that arrangement was agreed but the phone was forgotten? What if another person (either with an undisclosed disability or even without!) were to have a problem or get into difficulty? The fact that there is a warning/alarm light available but out of view renders it not fit for purpose. Perhaps a sound notification could be added. Imagine a health and safety inspection? There should be a regular H&S assessment in every work place at any rate. Again, a chat with management is needed.

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Excellent points all. It’s not just an issue for one employee, it’s an issue for all.


Hi Barney,

The gist of disability discrimination laws is that employers have to make “reasonable adjustments” in the workplace, I worry that a boss somewhere might be trying to wriggle out of that responsibility.

when the disabled access toilet was put in did they consult a occupational health specialist or someone who could have given them advice where the alert should be put? Who decided where the alert was located?

in the mean time you need a loud audible alarm, not just a visible one, and your phone.

i don’t remember even aged 5 being escorted to the loo by teachers and I would find the current situation insulting, as if having to use an alarm isn’t humiliating enough!

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Hi All, Thanks for all your replies. I have hopefully got the occupational health process started. Especially as i had no available toilet the other day. This has really made me hate my disability and what MS has done to me. I try my hardest every day to maintain independence.

I don’t just fight for me and fight for all those that this could impact.