OSHA Regulations on Eating Areas

OSHA provides some requirements for employee eating areas.
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) produces workplace regulations, including regulations on eating areas. The OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, and its purpose is to keep employees safe while performing various tasks at work. The OSHA makes requirements about employee eating areas, designed to provide clean and safe spaces for employees who need food while at work.


OSHA forbids workers to eat in toilet areas or in areas with toxic materials. If employees eat on work premises, they must have areas separate from toilet areas.

Food Waste Disposal

When employees eat on the work premises, employers are required to provide food waste containers in the eating areas. OSHA requires that the garbage receptacles be easy to clean and large enough to prevent them from getting overly full.

Food Storage

OSHA also forbids food storage in toilet areas or in areas with exposure to toxic chemicals.


OSHA requires water that is up to U.S. drinking standards (potable water) to be provided for drinking and also for cleaning any areas where food preparation takes place (See Reference 1). If employees wash any eating utensils at work, employers must provide potable water to clean the utensils with. Water in eating areas should also have a tap, and cannot be open barrels or containers that employees pour or ladle water from.

Work Near Lead

Employees who work near lead cannot consume or store food and beverages in the areas with lead exposure, as outlined by OSHA regulations. If employees who work near lead eat at work, the employer must provide an eating area away from any lead exposure.


OSHA outlines sanitation requirements for workplaces, including eating areas at workplaces. These regulations require trash receptacles to be free of leaks, control of vermin and floors clear of splinters, nails, loose boards, unnecessary holes and other safety hazards.

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