Q. Are there minimum standards for shared meal rooms in workplaces?

Workers must be provided with access to facilities for eating, preparing and storing food. Depending on the type of workplace, a range of facilities may be appropriate, this may include a canteen or cafeteria, a dedicated meal area or allowing time for mobile workers to access eating facilities.

The Code states there should be 1 meter square of clear space for each person likely to use the area at any one time. Note clear space is calculated free of furniture, fitting or obstructions such as pillars. This means that the size of a dining area for 10 workers should be 10 m2 plus extra space for meal furniture, appliances, and fittings such as sinks.

The above information sits in the “Managing the work environment and facilities” code of practice. The code is approved in Queensland and states the minimum requirements an employer must meet.

The Code also provides minimum standards for other facilities including (but not limited to) provision of toilets, drinking water, adequate lighting, change rooms, shower facilities and workstations.  The code of practice is approved under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Remember: Under section 26A of the WHS Act duty holders must comply with an approved code of practice or follow another method, such as a technical or industry standard, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the standard required in this code.