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My employee works in a smoking zone... how do I protect him?

by , 22 April 2013
Some of the most popular health and safety questions we get are how to protect employees who work in smoking zones like casinos and restaurants. In these smoking zones employees are exposed to smoke for up to eight hours a day, and in some cases even more!

That's a definite health risk to your employees.

But, what exactly do you do?

Find out how one of our subscribers, Jake solved his problem for employees working in smoking zones

Jake, a health and safety officer at a casino wrote in to our Health and Safety Helpdesk because many of his employees work in smoking areas every day. He wants to know what he can do to protect his employees from exposure to smoke.

Is your designated smoking area at least 5m away from non-smoking employees?

If not, then you better get R50,000  ready to pay a non-compliance penalty

Discover how to avoid fines by being 100% compliant  with smoking legislation in the workplace...


Nell Brown, our qualified Health and Safety expert from our helpdesk had this to say…

Jake must make sure he has good ventilation to clear out the smoke.

He must also have medical surveillance for his employees. This is where his employees will need to get regular medical assessments to monitor their health.

Jake will need to get an Occupational Medical Practitioner to conduct the medical exams.

Medical surveillance will help Jake determine if his prevention strategies (like the ventilation) is actually working, and if any of his employees' health is deteriorating because of the smoke.

If it is, he must to look at other ways of protecting them (e.g. move them to a different work area where they won't be exposed to smoke).

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) doesn't specifically tell Jake that he must have proper ventilation for the smoke or that he must implement medical surveillance for his employees. But, Section 8 (2) (d) (OHSA) says that he must identify hazards, reduce risks and implement risk control measures.

Smoke is a health risk so Jake must implement the risk control measures (ventilation and medical surveillance) to protect his employees' health.

Five questions to determine what medical surveillance you need in your workplace!

Check this out in the Health and Safety Advisor, you'll find five questions that'll help you decide what medical surveillance you need for your company PLUS sample questionnaires to use when employees take a medical exam.

Stay safe.

Kerusha Narothan
Managing Editor: Health and Safety Advisor

P.S. Get your smoking policy today with your copy of Smoking in the workplace: Your A-Z giuide to being 100% compliant with smoking legislation.

P.P.S Remember you can also get your questions answered and answer other people's questions - all you have to do is register on the Health and Safety Club, its FREE

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