(Toolbox Talk) Welfare: Food, Drink and Smoking

Table of Contents
welfare food drink and smoking toolbox talk


The aim of this toolbox talk is to increase staff awareness of welfare in the workplace. Covering eating, drinking and smoking.

The use of regular toolbox talks, if done effectively, will significantly improve the safety culture within your organisation. This will increase the safety awareness of the workers, and as a result reduce the likelihood of accidents and unsafe occurrences.

Legislation references

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Welfare Reform Act 2012

Welfare at work

The activity of eating, drinking or smoking can lead to ingestion of harmful substances. This occurs in 2 principle ways:
  • contamination of the food or drink.
  • hand to mouth contact
 Contamination of food and drink can be occur where:
  • Particles settle out of the air directly on to food or drinks which are then consumed.
  • Spillages / contaminated work surfaces which then come into contact with food.
  • Food vessels such as cups or bowls are contaminated and the contamination is transferred as food is prepared
Any activity involving hand to mouth contact can lead to ingestion of harmful substances when the hands are contaminated. Contamination of the hand can occur:
  • Directly: through handling a toxic substance.
  • Indirectly: by coming into contact with a contaminated surface
The health effects of contaminated food and rink may not be immediate as it takes time for some contaminants to build up. Serious illness can result where there is bacterial or similar contamination, such as:
  • Food poisoning.
  • Dysentery.
  • Some skin infections.
please wash your hands

Controlling the risks

Information is contained in specific risk assessments for each activity – you must understand the content of the risk assessments. General site rules include:
  • Eating, drinking and smoking on shop floor or other hazardous areas is banned.
  • If smoking is not banned on your site, designated smoking areas will be provided.
  • Facilities are provided for the consumption of food and drink.
  • All staff are required to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene.
  • All staff are required to thoroughly wash their hands before consuming any food or smoking.