Caffeine control guidelines launched

The
Department of Safety has issued new guidance on the amount of caffeine that
workers can legally imbibe each day.

The
publication, Controlling Caffeine – Creating a healthier work environment,
warns that workers must keep and maintain a daily record (written or
electronic) of their daily caffeine consumption (DCC) at work. Employers must
ensure that such records are kept.

Daily
caffeine records (DCR) must be kept for at least three months and must be
available for inspection during normal offices hours to assigned inspectors
from a number of prescribed government organisations, including environmental
health inspectors from the Department of Safety.

All
workers (unless they are exempt or partially exempt workers) must not exceed a
caffeine consumption of 250 milligrams within 24 hours. This limit is referred
to as the personal caffeine limit (PCL).

If,
for any reason, a non-exempt worker exceeds the PCL, it will represent a
‘caffeine excess incident’ under amendments to the Reporting of Injuries,
Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).  All ‘caffeine excess incidents’ have to be
reported to the Department of Safety by the quickest means possible.

Workers
and employers reporting ‘caffeine excess incidents’ will receive information,
advice and, if appropriate, counselling.

The
Department of Safety has wide powers to enter and search business premises, to
seize suspected caffeine containing beverages (CCB) and to prosecute both
workers and employers.

Exempt
workers, as defined in Schedule 4, include night workers (as defined in the
Working Time Regulations 1998), homeworkers and staff in certain exempt
workplaces, including offshore installations, the NHS, academic establishments
during certain parts of the academic year, journalism and actuarial services.

Richard
Bretton, Health & Safety Partner at law firm Osborne Clarke, said: “The
British tradition of ‘making a brew’ will shortly become a thing of the past,
and vending machines selling hot drinks, cola and chocolate will soon be
banished from every workplace.”

The
Control of Caffeine at Work Regulations 2004 implements the provisions of the
Caffeine Consumption Directive 301/2002 and the remaining elements of the Young
Workers Directive 128/1999.  The
regulations were drafted by the Department of Safety (DoS) under the European
Communities Act 1972, section 2(2) and create a number of new onerous
requirements.

For
further information visit http://www.personneltoday.com/goto/23131

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