Food premises workplace safety

Workplace accidents

Accidents in food premises such as restaurants, sandwich bars and cafes are common. They include:

  • slipping on wet floors
  • burns from heat or cleaning chemicals
  • accidents from poorly maintained equipment


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to catering and food premises, whatever their size. You are responsible for health and safety in your business if you are an employer or a self-employed person.

Read more about health and safety

Common hazards in food premises

Risks and risk managment in food premises depend on the nature of the business. Risks include:

  • no guards on food slicers
  • overloading electric sockets
  • obstructed fire extinguishers and blocked exits
  • wearing casual footwear instead of safety shoes
  • exposed wires
  • no internal door handles in walk-in chill rooms
  • no diffuser covers over strip lights
  • spillages not cleared up
  • leaks

Other hazards include:

  • grease build up on floors due lack of cleaning
  • ​poor ventilation
  • poorly maintained gas equipment
  • poor knife handling and storage
  • ​inaccessible first aid box
  • no fire blankets for deep fat fryers
  • poorly lit food preparation and storiage areas
  • microwave leakage from dirty microwaves
  • unidentified asbestos

Further information

The Health and Safety Executive provide useful information about health and safety in food premises.