On the 1st of July 2007, smoke-free legislation was introduced in England following similar bans in Scotland and in Wales. This meant that smoking was now banned in almost all enclosed public spaces and workplaces.
Considering that this smoke-free legislation has now been in place for 10 years, Avensure have put together some guidance notes to remind everyone what they need to have in place.
Local Authorities are the ones responsible for this legislation, not the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). However, while the HSE aren’t responsible for enforcing the ban, HSE inspectors will bring matters of concern to the attention of the employer particularly if it involves a number of smokers or if there is a failure to display a warning notice. In cases where the employer fails to take the advice offered by the inspector, then the matter will be brought to the attention of the relevant local authority.
With the smoke-free legislation in place, the HSE’s guidance on the protection of employees from second-hand smoke is unchanged:
- All employers should have a specific policy for smoking in the workplace.
- The needs of non-smokers who do not wish to inhale and breathe tobacco smoke should be given priority.
- Employees and their representatives must be consulted on the appropriate policy to suit their particular workplace.
Whilst there is no requirement to provide outdoor smoking shelters it may be something you wish to consider. While you should never encourage employees to smoke it may help to ensure that smoking takes place away from the building and away from other employees or visitors.
If you do decide to build a shelter, we suggest you discuss any plans you may have with your local
council as there may be a range of issues you need to consider such as planning permission, licensing, building control, noise and litter.
Shelters for smoking fall under the requirements of the Smoke-Free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006. For shelters to comply with these Regulations, the shelter must not be enclosed fully or substantially enclosed. This means that the smoking shelters must not have sides (this includes, doors, windows and other fittings that can be opened and shut) that enclose more than fifty percent of the shelter.
With regard to signage for businesses to meet the legal requirements, business owners must ensure that the correct and approved signage is in place. This must show clearly, that the area has been designated as a ‘no smoking’ area to other people.
Minimum requirements for signage under the law:
- Carry the internationally recognised ‘no smoking’ symbol (a lit/burning cigarette inside of a red circle with a line through this circle to show that it’s restricted).
- The black symbol of the lit cigarette must be 7cm/70mm as a minimum.
- They must have the wording “No smoking, it is against the law to smoke in these premises” on them.
- As a minimum be a5 sized (21cm x 14.8cm).
Vehicles must also be smoke free if they are used in the course of paid or voluntary work by more than one person – regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time. They must carry the internationally recognised ‘no smoking’ symbol (a lit/burning cigarette inside of a red circle with a line through this circle to show that it’s restricted).
Vehicles that are used for private purposes do not need to be smoke free.
There are very few places which are exempt from the Smoke Free legislation however they may include, under strict conditions:
- Residential Homes.
- Bedrooms in some hotels.
- Off-shore platforms.
For these exemptions to be gained, the specific rooms have to be designated by the person in charge as rooms where smoking is permitted. In those instances where a room is designated to be used only for smoking, then that room is not allowed to be used for any other purpose, for example, as a television room or library.
There is no legal obligation for any premises with exemptions to create designated smoking bedrooms or rooms if they do not wish to do so. Employers will also continue to have legal responsibilities to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees under health and safety at work laws
Please note smoke free legislation do not cover E-Cigarettes/Vapes.