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Screenshot 2023-07-27 103157

Zoe Mackenzie

Operations Manager

Willy Wonka’s Health & Safety Fails

Mr Beauregarde: You got a garbage strike going on here, Wonka?

Mrs Teevee: Who does your cleaning up?

Mr Salt: Shouldn’t you be wearing rubber gloves? You’ll have the health inspectors after you, you know that, don’t you?


In recognition of World Chocolate Day on July 7th Zoe’s rewatched the classic film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and picked out her top 4 Health & Safety fails:

Unprotected access to food products

In the film we see the characters touring the Chocolate Room, a fantastical indoor wonderland with its very own chocolate river and sweets as fare as the eye can see. The visitors touch the sweets with their bare hands, and one is even seen scooping up a frosting-like substance, licking their fingers and going back into another taste. Wonka is seen kicking the sweets out of the path, wearing his outdoor shoes.

The products may be delicious but you shouldn’t be dipping in your hands!

This is a food hygiene fail – every person in a food production area should wear appropriate clothing (clean, suitable and protective), and should be wearing PPE such as gloves, shoe coverings, and head coverings. The oompa-loompas are seen wearing gloves, but are without hair coverings. In addition, those mixing powdered sugar lack appropriate masks to avoid inhaling the dust, which can cause respiratory issues.

It’s unlikely that this room can be kept appropriately hygienic as it’s not kept sterile and must be very challenging to clean – it’s likely that there’s mould and bacteria spread throughout the grass and plants which is contaminating all the food products.

If you’d like to learn more, check out our online learning courses covering food safety such as Food Safety Level 1 which comes in three versions, for Catering, for Manufacturing, and for Retail. We have additional courses on Food Safety available – get in touch to learn more.

Lack of edge protection

An excellent example of this is the chocolate river, there are no barriers, handrails or warning signs. When there is a risk of falling into water (or in this instance liquid chocolate) this must be controlled, and there also should be procedures for raising an alarm and rescue in the event someone does fall in. When the parent pleads with Wonka to save Augustus from the river, Wonka doesn’t act to save him and doesn’t activate any emergency procedures.

Augustus is swept away, edge protection could have prevented this accident

Another example from the same room is the shot where you see Oompa Loompas climbing stairs by the river edge and carrying a very awkward contraption, again there are no rails or barriers to prevent a fall. The HSE advises that there should be protection against falling from an open edge; solutions can include toe boards, guard rails, and in some circumstances fall-arrest equipment such as harnesses.

No railings, no edge protection.


The invention room floor is covered in detritus which at a glance includes bicycle wheels, clothes and shoes, rubble, and twisted metal.

Messy floors in the Inventing Room
Drying laundry in a food safety area is not advised, nor is using a ladder in such a messy area!

The HSE advises that poor housekeeping standards are an accident waiting to happen, and that it’s not enough to have clear walkways but that the floor should be free of trailing wires and items. The ingredients should be stored away and labelled appropriately as per food storage guidelines and the cleaning regime needs an overhaul.


In the inventing room we see a multitude of chemicals around the room; all unlabelled and some bubbling away and boiling over with no-one monitoring them. The air is thick with steam and fumes which isn’t being appropriately controlled with ventilation. We see Wonka combining chemicals without wearing any PPE (gloves, goggles and a mask). He also mentions that his exploding candy requires “more Gelignite”, which we don’t need to tell you should not be put in food products! In addition, an Explosives Certificate is required to acquire and keep explosive materials such as Gelignite.

PPE Fail!

The substances should all be labelled, and a Safety Data Sheet for any dangerous substances should be available as part of your Risk Assessment for each chemical. As there are no labels or specific hazards on the containers means that in the event of an accident it’s impossible to identify the substance and apply the appropriate treatment.

Fumes everywhere, and not a mask to be seen!

Ventilation, or fume extraction should be installed in the room, and PPE/RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) provided. A risk assessment in this case would also consider making the room accessible only to certain staff and not visitors. We have online training available  which covers what you need to know about the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. It’s aimed at anyone who is exposed to Substances Hazardous to Health at work, as well as line managers with responsibility for such people – just follow this link or contact us to find out more.



So there you have it – if you’re planning on opening a chocolate factory (or if you or your employees handle food products) then get in touch to see how we can help.

Our content is correct at the date of publishing, but should not be taken as legal advice, and our articles don’t replace Risk Assessments. Armour will not be held accountable for any legal actions the reader may take.