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Lunch room for employees

Does an employer have to provide a lunchroom for employees?

Yes. An employer has a duty to provide a meal room (or other place providing reasonable shelter and comfort) for employees to have meals in during work hours (Section 6 Health and Safety in Employment Act).

The employer must also ensure that no meal is consumed in any place affected by atmospheric contaminants, dirt, noise, or any other hazard produced by any work process.

The following guidelines may help employers meet this duty:

  • A meal room or other place is not required where employees can conveniently have meals at their own homes.
  • The size of the meal room will depend on the number of workers likely to be having a meal in the room at any one time.
  • Any meal room or other place that is provided should be set apart for that purpose and furnished with tables, chairs and a suitable means for boiling water.
  • Meal rooms should be well ventilated and equipped with a sink and hot and cold running water. It is also desirable that a refrigerator be provided.
  • All facilities should be properly maintained, kept clean and not used for the storage of materials or goods.
  • A suitable means of heating food should be provided, especially where extended hours are worked.
  • Cupboards are required for foodstuffs and crockery - to provide protection from dust and vermin.
  • A rubbish bin fitted with a lid is necessary.
  • Where a kitchen is provided it should meet the requirements of the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.
  • Any meal room or other place that is provided must be isolated from any room containing toilets in accordance with the Building Code.

Date Modified: Wednesday, 8 December 2010

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