Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Aug 12, 2010

SAFETY: Food, beverages and toxic materials don’t mix


If your employees eat or drink in the same area where hazardous chemicals are used, you could get slapped with a citation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or equivalent state agency. In a recently released interpretation letter, OSHA confirmed that the Occupational Safety and Health Acts sanitation standard prohibits employees from consuming food or drinks in areas where they will be exposed to hazardous materials that could cause serious physical harm or death. OSHA cited acetone and paint thinner as examples of materials that employees should not be eating or drinking around.

Tips: Many employers allow employees to eat lunch at their work station or in machine shops, but doing so not only jeopardizes the employees health, it also means youre violating safety standards. While it may be unpopular with employees, move their eating and drinking activities to an area where hazardous materials are nowhere to be found. Questions? Contact your Vigilant safety professional.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.