Case 317 – Store would not provide plastic knives for customers buying take out food


Enquirer called into a high street store to purchase some lunch and asked if they had any plastic knives and forks for sale. The assistant said yes they had forks but due to Health Safety were not allowed to provide plastic knives.

Panel decision

Health and safety at work regulations do not prohibit the provision of plastic knives to customers. Clearly, knives and forks used for eating carry a small risk in the same way that any sharp object does, however it is absurd to suggest that we should not use them. By citing health and safety as the reason for not providing plastic knives, the company trivialises real health and safety risks in the workplace. The real reason for their decision should be explained instead of hiding behind health and safety.

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