Magazine article Management Services

Fuming to Have Your Say on Passive Smoking at Work?

Magazine article Management Services

Fuming to Have Your Say on Passive Smoking at Work?

Article excerpt

The Health and Safety Commission is seeking views on proposals which could result in tougher action to control passive smoking at work.

A key option included in the consultative document on passive smoking in the workplace, is a proposal to introduce an Approved Code of Practice which would give authoritative guidance on employers' obligations under health, safety and welfare law in respect of passive smoking at work.

If agreed, the Code would have special legal force, similar to the Highway Code. Failing to abide by the Code would not be an offence in itself, but an employer would have to demonstrate to a Court that equally effective methods had been used to comply with the law.

Launching the consultation at HSC's headquarters in London, HSC Chairman Sir Frank Davies CBE OStJ said: "HSC believes that all employers should have agreed policies on smoking at work that ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, employees' health and welfare at work. There is a lot of guidance for employers about how to do this, yet as many as one in five have not yet done so.

"If the existing guidance including HSE's own guidance on passive smoking - is insufficient to persuade employers to introduce effective policies, we need to consider what more should be done."

Joining Sir Frank at the launch were Clive Bates director of the anti-smoking group ASH and Simon Clark director of the smokers' rights organisation FOREST. Simon Clark said: "Most smokers accept that a smoky environment can cause irritation to some non-smokers and they are happy to alleviate any problem if a sensible compromise can be reached that does not discriminate unnecessarily against smokers. …

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