Consultant Sandra Beale explains what the smoking ban in public places in England from July 1 will mean for business.
From 1 July 2007 in England all smoking in enclosed public places will be banned. It is already banned in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (from 30 April 2007).
The ban covers pubs, bars, private members clubs, restaurants, nightclubs, factories and offices. It will also be illegal to smoke in work vehicles where there is more than one person. Smoking in private homes, prisons, hotels and care homes, however, will still be allowed.
Employers will no longer be allowed to provide indoor smoking rooms, but may need consider the construction of a smoking shelter which should be non-enclosed if space allows although this is not a legal requirement.
Smoking outside will still be allowed, but employers need to consider the impact of having a smoker or group of smokers standing around outside their premises in possible full public view as well as the conflict that can arise from non-smokers being disgruntled at the number smoking breaks their smoking colleagues may be taking that can have an impact on productivity.
Signs should be erected clearly and prominently showing the no smoking symbol which is applicable for staff as well customers and clients. Failure to do so can incur a fine of up to £1,000.
If the ban is ignored and cigarette smokers are allowed to light up indoors a fine of up to £2,500 can be imposed on the employer or business.
There should be a policy on smoking included in the employee handbook which sets out the rights of smokers and non-smokers as well as contractual clauses. The status on smoking breaks should be clarified as well as arrangements for visitors.
An awareness of the health consequences of continuing to smoke should be raised with advice on assistance with giving up provided. This can be in the form of leaflets or presentations from qualified medical personnel.
The cost benefits to all concerned should be recognised. For businesses there are reduced insurance costs due to less fire hazard, cleaning and re-decorating. For those individuals who give up smoking they save thousands of pounds per year as well as get their health back.
For further advice on this matter speak to Sandra Beale of SJ Beale HR Consult Ltd on 07762 771290 or email [email protected]