Smoking is banned in almost all enclosed public places and workplaces in the UK. You need to ensure you have no-smoking signs in premises and company vehicles. You also need to make sure that employees and customers keep to the rules. It is therefore advisable to have a smoking policy for your business.
Having a smoking policy has clear benefits, including:
- a healthier workforce
- reduced disputes between smokers and non-smokers
- cleaner premises
- a better image
- helps you meet your health and safety responsibilities
As an employer you have a general duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees. This includes any risks arising from exposure to second-hand smoke. You should prioritise the health needs of non-smoking staff. These duties will continue to apply in exempted premises.
What your smoking policy should cover
Your smoking policy should cover the following:
- acknowledge the right of your employees to work in a smoke-free environment
- list the members of management and staff who have the responsibility for implementing the policy
- identify the outside areas where people can smoke, but ensure those areas are not enclosed
- provide information on how to get help to quit smoking
- set out how you will communicate your policy to all members of your staff (including new employees before they start work) and to members of the public using your premises and vehicles
- set out the means of communicating to your staff and customers where they can smoke if they want to
You may also wish to set out your position on the use of e-cigarettes in your workplace.
You will need to decide how to deal with non-compliance with your smoking policy and how the policy fits within your existing health and safety and discipline policies.
Change your policy to fit your business' needs. For example, if you employ plumbers and decorators you might want to stop then from smoking anywhere on customers' premises. This helps maintain your image and reputation as a responsible, professional business.