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Do you know how to protect your non-smoking employees from cigarette smoke in the workplace?

by , 13 March 2013
Smoking is coming under the global spotlight again. In the UK, anti-smoking campaigners have won a battle against Gallaher, which markets brands including Benson & Hedges, Camel and Silk Cut, after the advertising watchdog banned its advertising campaign. There's uproar over smoking locally too, as from 1 April 2013, a pack of 20 cigarettes will set you back almost R2 more. This is an attempt to cut the amount of smoking in the country. But you'll still have to protect your non-smoking employees' health around the last few stragglers...

The UK Department of Health is so set against smoking that it's hoping introducing plain, unbranded cigarette packets will prevent young people from starting to smoke, says The Guardian.
 
Locally, we've gone a different route to lower the amount of smokers in the country.
 
Smokers will have to cough up more for their vice thanks to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan once again levying higher sin tax on cigarettes in last month's Budget Speech, says FSP Invest.
 
The exorbitant fees are enough to make anyone think twice about smoking – but chances are you still have a few smoking employees in your company.
 
But you can't just sit back and hope they'll quit smoking soon.
 
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), you have a legal obligation to protect your employees' health and safety.
 
All you need to do is consider the health and safety of your non-smoking employees.
 
It's the easiest way to avoid hefty fines of up to R100,000 for non-compliance!
 
Are you protecting your non-smoking employees from cigarette smoke?
 
The Tobacco Products Control Act offers more restrictions for smoking in public places and designated smoking areas like the ones in your workplace, says FSP Business
 
These are designed to protect your non-smoking employees from the cigarette smoke of smoking employees.
 
Make sure your designated smoking area complies with the Tobacco Products Control Act!
 
For example, your designated smoking areas must be separated from the rest of the workplace by a solid partition, and the air from the designated smoking area is not allowed to be re-circulated in the office.
 
And remember to treat e-cigarettes the same way you would any smoking products.
 
Some say they're safer than normal cigarettes, but there's still a variation in the amount of nicotine and other potentially toxic substances present, says the UK's former health minister Simon Burns said on the International Business Times website.
 
Bottom line: 'Smoking is smoking', says the Health and Safety Bulletin.  
 
Second-hand smoke is just as deadly as if you were to smoke yourself.
 
So make sure you comply with your OHSA obligations to protect the health of your non-smoking employees.

Find out more about your smoking obligations in the Health and Safety Advisor 
 

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