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What are your employer obligations when it comes to designated smoking area?

by , 25 February 2013
While you can ban your employees from smoking in the workplace to ensure smokers don't affect the health and safety of the rest of your employees, most employees set up a designated smoking areas instead. Here's what you need to know about designated smoking areas to ensure you aren't slapped with non-compliance penalties from the Department of Labour.

If you have designated smoking areas in your workplace, you'd better sit up and pay attention!' warns Nicky van der Westhuizen in The Health and Safety Advisor. 'The changes to the Tobacco Products Controls Act (TPCA) provide more smoking restrictions in public places and designated smoking areas.'

Here's what you need to know to avoid being slapped with a fine for non-compliance.

Apply these five things to your staff's designated a smoking areas:

According to The Health and Safety Bulletin, your designated smoking areas:

  1. May not be bigger than 25% of your company's total floor area;
  2. Must be separated from the rest of the workplace by a solid partition.
  3. Must have a 'Smoking area' sign at the entrance  - this sign must be in black letters against a white background only and be at least 2cm in height and 1.5cm in breadth.
  4. Must be well ventilated so that the air from the designated smoking area is directly exhausted to the outside and is not re-circulated in the office.
  5. Must have the following message on display: 'SMOKING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND TO THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN, PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN AND NONSMOKERS. FOR HELP TO QUIT PHONE (011) 720 3145.' This message must be displayed at the entrance to the designated smoking area, written in black letters, at least 2cm in height, 1.5cm in breadth, on a white background.

So there you have it: By knowing what your company's designated smoking area must contain, you can stay on the right side of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and avoid hefty fines of between R50 000 and R100 000 for non-compliance.

Turn to section S01 of your Health and Safety Advisor to read more about your smoking obligations

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