By now, we can all agree that smoking cigarettes, even e-cigarettes, is a bad habit that most people would be wise to cut out. Nevertheless, many people continue to do it, and most can’t always go a full day at work without lighting up. Naturally, this creates a quandary for employers in all industries.
Often, it’s best for employers to institute a company-wide policy when it comes to smoking at the workplace. This should go hand-in-hand with health and safety protocols since the two will be inter-connected in some way. Of course, there are many things to consider when it comes to employers deciding to post no-smoking signs and deciding how to handle the urge of some employees to smoke during their shift.
State by State
The first step in the process is understanding state and local laws. More than two dozen states have instituted legislation calling for smoke-free workplaces. If your business operates in one of these states, the decision on no-smoking signs will be an easy one. Most of these states require no smoking signs to be posted at the entrance of buildings, in employee break rooms, and other parts of the workplace.
Of course, these laws vary from one state to another. Each state’s laws about smoking may also vary depending on the industry. For companies in the manufacturing and construction industries, it’s critical to stay up to date on these laws and make sure they’re properly enforced. After all, smoking and smoking-related materials can create safety problems in the workplace.
A Special Place for Smokers
One potential solution to appease the smokers inside your company and comply with state laws is to designate a special smoking area. This could be one way to avoid having to place no smoking signs throughout the workplace. The catch is that all employees must understand that smoking won’t be tolerated on company grounds outside of the specified smoking area.
In a way, this is akin to restaurants having a smoking section or airports offering a smoking lounge for travelers. However, companies usually need to enforce strict requirements for these designated smoking areas. They can’t be located inside and they need to be a safe distance away from all entrances and exits. Companies should also take into consideration any work materials that are stored outside or common walkways for people going into our out of the building. The designated smoking area should be a safe distance from anywhere an employee might be walking or working.
Set the Policy
Above all else, whether you choose to post no-smoking signs or not, the best thing you can do is be clear about the company policy for smoking in the workplace. For the sake of everyone’s health, you should do your best to discourage smoking among employees. But you should mention smoking on company grounds as part of your health and safety policies.
Like every other aspect of your business workers need to know where you stand. Make sure everyone knows the policy on smoking and knows that the policy complies with state laws. If you choose to have a designated smoking area, make it clear where it is and when employees are able to utilize it. You should also make it clear what tobacco products are allowed and what products are not allowed. Finally, the smoking policy should state the punishment for employees who break the rules related to smoking.
Help Track Your Policies
Of course, smoking is just one of the many factors that contribute to the health and safety protocol of a company. With so many aspects that go into safety policy, the best thing you can do is have a comprehensive safety software that helps you keep everything organized. At EHS Insight, we offer safety software that will save you both time and money by keeping you better organized.
If you want to save time and money by being more organized with your safety protocols, get in touch and we’ll have a conversation about all of the ways we can help.