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Factsheet - Take a break

Rest and recuperation in the workplace

These five workers are obviously taking a break from a hard day. They are at rest in the sunshine and are stood talking. They wear appropriate safety gear.

Employment legislation does not specifically outline an employee's entitlements to breaks at work. But there are two important reasons for employers to provide regular breaks:

People can't go on performing at a high level without breaks of some sort and these breaks need to be matched to the intensity of the work.

Fatigue can lead to harm, especially in the busy summer months when activity at both work and home are likely to increase. Just taking a couple minutes to relax, have a drink of water, bite to eat and a chat with colleagues can make all the difference.

Specific entitlements to breaks are a negotiable matter between the employer and the employee. The agreement may cover such matters as when breaks should be taken or how long the breaks are, and whether they are paid or not. Breaks do not need to be long though. Just a couple of minutes could make all the difference.

There are some simple things you can do while working: drink plenty of water, take breaks and if a situation looks or feels dodgy then STOP. THINK about your options and DO act in the safest way.

Read the guide to Managing shift work to minimise workplace fatigue.

STOP THINK DO