ASK RENATA

I work with five other people in an area that has no dining facilities. Are we entitled to a separate space to have a break, instead of having to eat and drink in-between clients, at our desk? Our microwave and kettle are in the work area too, and we have to get our drinking water from the bathroom.

Based on the information you’ve provided it appears your employer is in breach of their section 21(2)(d) duty, to provide adequate facilities for the welfare of workers.

WorkSafe’s Compliance Code for Workplace Amenities and Work Environment provides guidance to employers on how to comply. The code advises; ‘clean drinking water needs to be always provided for employees’ and from outlets 'separate from washing facilities to avoid contamination.’

Water quality needs to be clean, safe for consumption, cool and palatable.

Employees must also have access to ‘hygienic dining facilities for preparing and eating meals.’

A separate dining room does not have to be provided where there are nine or fewer workers eating at one time, as long as there is no risk to health and safety from preparing food or eating in the workplace.

However, a dining area needs to be provided that is:

  • hygienic and waterproof
  • separated from hazards
  • separated from the work process
  • free of tools and work materials

Read more on our webpage

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