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If you have a pending lawsuit that pertains to a restaurant or bar industry legal matter, you need to know what “shared space” is, how it applies to your underlying legal matter, and the role that OSHA guidelines, codes and safety rules will have. Shared space is an industry-specific formula and will impact the standards that you apply and could be the difference between winning or losing your case.

There is one special circumstance that is rather unique and significant to the restaurant industry (for the most part, like none other), and it is called shared space.

OSHA Is Applicable to Nearly All Restaurant Incidents

OSHA guidelines play a significant role in almost every kind of restaurant industry incident as it pertains to safety, health, and security—not just those involving employees, but all incidents that occur on the restaurant premises where an employee, customer, vendor, or other individual has been injured, harmed, sickened, maimed, or killed. This special circumstance is referred to as common areas and shared space.

Common Areas and Shared Space

The reasonable and customary restaurant industry standard is that the safety, health, and security standards and methods established to protect restaurant industry employees are the same safety, health, and security standards and methods that must be implemented to protect restaurant customers, vendors, and others who enter the premises. This is due in large part to a mostly restaurant industry-specific special circumstance that is best described as common areas and/or shared space (an area shared by both employees and customers). There are no areas of the restaurant that the customers utilize that the employees do not also utilizethere are no furniture, fixtures, and equipment that the customers are exposed to in those common areas/shared space that the employees are not also exposed to; and there are no potential hazards or potentially dangerous conditions (if any should so happen to exist) within those common areas/shared spaces that do not put both the customers and the employees substantially and equally at risk for being injured, harmed, sickened, maimed, or killed. To be clear, the areas used by customers to sit, walk, stand, eat, drink, and use otherwise (such as, but not limited to, the dining areas, bar areas, restrooms, reception areas, etc.) are indeed the same areas referred to as workspace or workplace of the restaurant and bar employees; and, therefore, these areas are common areas and shared space.

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