Food catering sites at community events are workplaces too.

You can manage some of the common risks associated with food catering sites at community events by understanding what activities can cause people harm and taking steps to control the associated risks.

Ensure that your workers are trained on how to work safely and are adequately supervised. This includes giving them clear instructions on what to do when safety issues arise, such as:

  • a leaking gas bottle or electrical fault
  • severe weather conditions (eg heat, storms)
  • an injury
  • an emergency (for both the catering site and the event site).

Working conditions

Ensure good working conditions for you and your workers by providing:

  • clear, unobstructed entry to and exit from work areas
  • fresh drinking water
  • hygienic washing and eating facilities
  • level floors with no debris/waste pooling on the floor
  • level work surfaces that are well maintained
  • adequate ventilation
  • sufficient space to carry out work and for storage of stock
  • steps or ladders, if supplied, in good condition
  • emergency plans
  • a fully stocked and easily accessible first aid kit.

Use trolleys and sack trucks to help you and your workers lift and move equipment and supplies more easily.

Check all plant and equipment before use and ensure that:

  • guarding is in place, such as on dough rollers, slicers and mixers
  • there are no faults or defects
  • emergency stops are working, if applicable
  • workers are trained in safe working methods.

Continually check equipment throughout the event and encourage workers to report any malfunctions to a supervisor or manager.

Electrical safety

For electrical safety ensure that:

  • a residual current device (RCD) that accommodates all your electrical items is fitted
  • all electrical leads and electrical equipment are inspected and tested
  • appropriate electrical leads, equipment and connection points are protected from heat sources and wet weather
  • appropriate electrical powerboards are used
  • electrical cables are protected to prevent damage and secured to prevent hazards such as tripping
  • festoon lighting is supported by steel cables or guy wires of at least 2.7 metres height above pedestrians and at least 6 metres above vehicle traffic areas, and that they are installed by a competent person.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

For LPG safety ensure that:

  • all gas appliances are fit-for-purpose
  • any connections from LPG cylinders to appliances are in good working order
  • LPG cylinders, including spares, are:
    • correctly stored outside in well ventilated areas
    • kept on a firm stable base and secured from falling, such as by chain restraints
    • positioned so that pressure relief valves are facing away from catering vans, tents or other combustible materials
    • kept clear of ignition sources, such as naked flames and electrical sockets
  • plastic milk crates are not used to store LPG cylinders as this may cause static electricity to build up.

Events which use more than a total of 250kg of LPG cylinders may require a licence.

Fire prevention

For fire safety:

  • maintain clearance distances between all ignition sources and combustible materials, such as vans, tent and marquee walls, overhanging trees etc
  • use soapy water or detergent to check for leaks in LPG cylinders and fittings before use
  • safely dispose of used cooking oil and coals, after they have cooled, and clean up excess grease and fat from grills etc
  • fit your structure or van with appropriate, readily available and unobstructed fire-fighting equipment, ensuring that fire extinguishers are charged and within the test date.

Structures and marquees

Ensure that:

  • the structure or marquee has been properly erected
  • access to underground services is not obstructed
  • above and below-ground services, such as overhead power lines, are identified during installation and dismantling
  • suitable anchor mechanisms are used (weights/stakes), taking into account adverse weather conditions, especially high winds
  • anchor mechanisms are suitably protected against trips, impalement and traffic
  • the ground is suitable for the anchor mechanisms
  • all guy ropes are in a sound condition
  • you have a safety procedure for severe weather conditions and all workers have been trained in this procedure
  • suitable exits are available and kept clear of tripping hazards at all times
  • adequate lighting is provided for workers and the public.