The legislation banning all smoking at work comes into force on 1 July 2007. It applies to all enclosed public spaces and workplaces, with only a very few limited exceptions. The ban also extends to work vehicles not used exclusively by one person. Employers will no longer be able to operate a policy of having most working areas smoke-free with a designated smoking room for those who do wish to light up. Any employer who has not yet taken steps to implement the ban should act now.
No-smoking signs in premises
The Government has produced official guidance on the new law together with sample signs. If you haven’t received a copy, the guidance and the sample signage can be ordered or downloaded from http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/resources/
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has also published useful guidance on this topic, which includes a checklist of items to consider when drawing up your policy on smoking at work. The guidance suggests that this should include:
- an introduction stating the reasons for the policy – for example: 'This policy has been developed in consultation with workers and their representatives to help provide a healthy, safe and comfortable environment';
- a statement that the policy complies with the relevant legislation;
- a statement that the policy applies to workers at all levels;
- the name of the individuals responsible for implementing and maintaining the policy (usually a named manager is given overall responsibility with day-to-day responsibility resting with supervisors and line managers);
- information about arrangements for smokers – for example, smoking outside the premises;
- details of how a breach of the smoking restrictions will be dealt with; and
- a statement that the policy applies to all visitors and customers.
Employers should review their disciplinary rules and procedures to ensure that these cover any breach of the non-smoking policy and the likely sanctions.
ACAS also has provided guidance, in question and answer format, concerning issues such as whether or not employers have to provide outside smoking facilities provided and what to do if customers to your premises insist on smoking.