Occupational safety, health and welfare at work in the catering industry : a study into the level of awareness and compliance in the industry : does food safety take priority?
Occupational safety health and welfare across all work sectors has been of crucial importance in Ireland, particularly over the last decade. The objectives of this study were: 1. To establish the level of awareness and compliance amongst the staff and management of the catering industry regarding occupational health and safety. 2. To see if food safety issues supersede occupational health and safety in the catering industry. 3. To determine if the regulation of occupational health and safety in catering premises would be better served if inspected by another inspectorate body. This study was designed, and surveyed three different groups of people with respect to their knowledge regarding occupational health and safety and related issues. Two separate questionnaires were designed targeting both managers and staff in the catering industry with a sample size of 60 catering managers and 120 catering staff. A further questionnaire was administered to Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) with a sample size of 50. The survey results obtained from catering staff and management respondents, establishes the lack of training, awareness and compliance with regard to occupational health and safety in this industry. 50% of managers state that they have a safety statement on the premises, which is made available to staff members. 40% of staff are aware of these safety statements. With 78% of staff receiving food safety training and as low as 33% of catering staff having received occupational health and safety training this also highlights that food safety takes precedence over occupational health and safety matters in this industry. 100% of catering managers surveyed stated that their premises had never been inspected by the H.S.A. and 75% of these managers stated that they were more likely to comply with legislation when inspected by the enforcing agency. When questioned about inspecting catering premises 100% of EHO respondents stated that they had come across hazardous and unsafe working conditions which were often reported to the H.S.A. 57% OF EHO’s surveyed stated that food safety and occupational health and safety inspections could be integrated and carried out by EHO’s. However, 100% of these EHO’s stated that without additional resources they would not be able to undertake this task. In conclusion it can be seen that due to a combination of reasons occupational health and safety issues have been let slide and food safety takes precedence. The report goes on to recommend that NAOSH (National Authority of Occupational Safety and Health) should consider the possibility of occupational health and safety inspections in catering premises being carried out by environmental health departments under the auspices of the HSE (Health Services Executive). If this is not possible, NAOSH itself needs extra resources to employ more of their own inspectors so that all industries are inspected on an ongoing basis.
- Theses - Science ITS 
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