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Is your workplace eating area your one-way ticket to penalties and imprisonment?

by , 06 March 2013
Even if your company doesn't have a canteen, by law, you MUST have some form of an eating area in your company (Facilities Regulations, Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)). If you don't comply with these regulations you could be liable for a fine or imprisonment.

Canteens and eating areas provide a place where employees can relax and enjoy their meals.  But it can also be a place where bacteria and germs grow. Unchecked, these bacteria and germs can cause employees to become seriously ill, or die!
Whatever kind of facility you have, it must always be clean and well maintained!


3 Tips to get your employees to comply with health and safety laws

 Employees think that safety is something 'management' must do. They're wrong. Employees also have duties to comply with the OHS Act. It's your responsibility to make sure your employees comply. 

Don't know how to do it? Here's how…

Comply with these regulations or face the penalties!
Your facilities for eating, cooking and personal hygiene must comply with Facilities Regulation 2.1 of the OHSA and Parts F, P, and Q of the National Building Regulations.
Clean these areas regularly and very carefully. They are areas with a high potential for transferring bacteria, diseases and germs.
Prevent bacteria, diseases and germs from transferring from person to person and from surfaces to person (surfaces include crockery and cutlery) by following these six tips.


106 templates to kick start your Health & Safety System 
If you start a new business or project, you need to develop a health and safety system as per the OHS Act. This includes compiling an up-to-date health and safety file (or SHE File, as we in the business often refer to it). But, it's not a case of buying a file from your local stationer and throwing in whatever documentation you remember to keep copies of. 
There are specific sections you must have, and you have to populate these with particular information. 
6 Tips to maintain hygiene standards
1. Clean canteen/kitchen areas with warm soapy water at least once a day.
2. In canteens where there is high traffic of people using the area, clean it as often as possible – after each shift when facilities are used (cleaning should include tables, chairs, communal areas, bins, serving surfaces etc.).
3. Wash cutlery and crockery (non-disposable) with an antibacterial dishwashing substance.
4. Sanitise canteen/kitchen areas at least once a week.
5. Deep-clean canteen areas at least once a year, but twice a year is recommended.
6. Take swabs of all surfaces every three months to see if there are bacteria or germs. Send the swabs for testing.
You must keep records of all swabbing (dates, times, areas etc.), testing and results (written reports of findings).
Find out more about your obligations on keeping the workplace clean in Chapter H16 on Housekeeping in the Health and Safety Advisor.

Until next time,
Stay safe.

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Kerusha Narothan
Product Manager: Health and Safety Advisor
P.S. Shabby canteens can affect employee productivity find out how in the Health and Safety Advisor

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