Mid-Michigan universities complying with new OSHA guidelines for - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan universities complying with new OSHA guidelines for transgender people

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Boys’ room.

Girls’ room.

Most people don't pay much attention to which toilet to use, it's second nature.

But for people who are transgender, these signs spark a dilemma, which J.J. Boehm, a spokesperson for Saginaw Valley State University, recognizes.

“Restrooms can be a sensitive and delicate matter,” Boehm said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA, has released guidelines recommending employers to have bathrooms to accommodate transgender workers.

This could mean having single-occupancy restrooms, or gender-neutral facilities available.

We went to Saginaw Valley State University to see how they will comply with the new guidelines. The school employs hundreds in staff and faculty.

“We know this is an issue that's very much in the public eye, but also very personal,” Boehm said.

Boehm showed us several of their single-occupancy gender neutral bathrooms that work with these new guidelines.

“We try to make sure we provide facilities that allow our students, faculty and staff, to feel comfortable when they need to use the restroom,” Boehm said.

SVSU also has a list on their website of where all the gender-neutral bathrooms are.

In fact, while renovating an older campus building, those at SVSU kept this issue in mind

“We're adding more,” Boehm said. “Wicks Hall, which is under construction right now, we're going to be adding additional unisex bathrooms in that facility.”

These new guidelines are not necessarily asking employers to add onto their building, but make transgender employees feel comfortable to use the bathroom at work.

“It is something that is very personal but, as we have seen, it does create an opportunity for people to feel an offense,” Boehm said. “So the more we can offer unisex bathrooms and make people feel comfortable, we think that's the right thing to do.”

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