Facilities for rest and eating meals

Rest area requirements

  • Rest areas or rooms should be large enough and have sufficient seats with backrests and tables for the number of workers likely to use them at any time.
  • They must include suitable facilities to eat meals, where meals are regularly eaten in the workplace and the food would otherwise be likely to become contaminated.
  • Seats must be provided for workers to use during breaks.
  • Seats should be in a place where personal protective equipment need not be worn.
  • Work areas can be counted as rest areas and as eating facilities, provided they are adequately clean and there is a suitable surface on which to place food.

Food and drink

  • Where provided, eating facilities should include a facility for preparing or obtaining a hot drink.
  • Where hot food cannot be obtained in, or reasonably near to the workplace, workers may need to be provided with a means for heating their own food.
  • Canteens or restaurants may be used as rest facilities provided there is no obligation to purchase food.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers

  • Suitable rest facilities should be provided for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • They should be near to sanitary facilities and where necessary, include the facility to lie down.


  • Rest areas and rest rooms away from the workstation should include suitable arrangements to protect non-smokers from discomfort caused by tobacco smoke.
  • All places of work must be smoke free as from 1 July 2007.

Environmental Health contact information

Postal address:, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ