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Breakroom requirements

If we are required to have a breakroom, where can I find requirements that it must meet? We are a warehouse facility and we do not have anyone working between 10 PM and 6 AM. Does it need to be air-conditioned?

There is no federal law that requires breakrooms. Some states, most notably California, require employers to provide breakrooms only if they also require employees to stay on the premises during their lunch breaks. Even then, the only requirements are that the area be sheltered, be suitable for consuming food and drink and have facilities that provide food or allow an employee to prepare food.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide a suitable space for employees to rest and eat. Breakrooms or at least designated areas for the purpose of resting and eating should be provided for employees who are required to remain onsite for their breaks or when eating in the workplace is unsafe or impractical (i.e. a warehouse).

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA’s general recommendation is to keep temperatures in the workplace 68-76° F with humidity control in the range of 20%-60%. However, OSHA doesn’t provide specific regulations on the matter. You can read more here.

You may also want to consider checking local ordinances as well.

Keep in mind, the purpose of a breakroom is to allow employees a space separate from the work area to relax and eat. The area should be comfortable enough to serve its purpose. Forcing employees to eat in a 100° F room will only create unhappy, unproductive employees.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 1:16 pm and is filed under
Workplace Health & Safety, Workplace Management.
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