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Case 231 - Coffee bar would not provide hot water for tea for health and safety reasons


The enquirer asked to be provided or to buy a cup of hot water at the coffee bar at her local Hospital. She wanted Earl Grey tea which they did not have but said she was happy to pay the price of ordinary tea because she had her own teabags. She was told that she could not be provided with just hot water because of 'health and safety'. The enquirer pointed out that as she could buy tea, coffee or other hot beverages this was ridiculous but they would not be moved.

Panel decision

There is no health and safety at work legislation which prescribes that hot water cannot be served to customers. The risk from buying hot water is no greater than the risk from buying any other hot drink. This is a simple case of poor customer service being disguised with health and safety given as the catch-all excuse.