Break-room standards


What does OSHA require employers to provide in a break room?

"OSHA doesn't require anything in a break room," says Philip Seibert, CVT, an author, speaker, and consultant with Veterinary Practice Consultants in Calhoun, Tenn. "In fact, because you aren't required to provide breaks or meals for staff members, OSHA doesn't mandate that you provide a place for those activities. However, if you do allow staff members to store, consume, or prepare food or beverages in the workplace, you must provide a location that's suitable for those activities."

According to OSHA standard 1920.141 (g), that location must be free of toxic materials, Seibert says. Materials to keep away from the break room: drugs, disinfectants and cleaning supplies, lab samples, animal or medical waste, and chemicals.

Seibert says there are specific labor law posters that you must display in the workplace, but there's no mandate on putting these in the break room. "You can hang these any place where notices to employees are customarily posted," he says. For more on workplace posters, visit

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