Work Safety and Smoking

Life has changed dramatically during the past forty years. When you watch a movie from before that time, it is shocking to see the number of people smoking. Even more strange is to watch the situations in which they smoke. Of course, a lot more is known today about the dangers of smoking. It is still a popular activity, though, and employers would be wise to have rules in place to forestall any problems related to employee smoking.

Having a designated smoking area is a proactive measure. Most states now ban smoking indoors in most kinds of workplaces. By establishing a smoking area, employers prevent the creation of impromptu smoking areas in illegal spots like in doorways or near windows or other ventilation. Your smoking area should be removed from doorways and entrances by at least twenty-five feet. Signs should be posted in both non-smoking areas and your designated smoking space.

Many employers are now looking at the costs of smoking in terms of lost productivity due to smoke-related illness or death. They are offering smoking-cessation programs to their employees through health-care incentives. This might include paying for therapy and other remedies. It also means offering education in the workplace on the dangers and costs of smoking.

Businesses would be wise to carry liability insurance. Employees may file suit or ask for damages in regard to an employer’s failure to protect them from cigarette smoke at their place of work. Insurance can also protect employers from actions related to complaints about the employer’s failure to comply with federal, state, and local smoking ordinances.