IOSH has added its voice to the clamour for health secretary John Reid to reconsider his previous decision and implement a total ban on smoking in the workplace.
IOSH was dismayed at the apparent stubbornness and lack of concern shown by Reid last month, when he conceded that a number of workers will die each year because the government was ignoring the advice of Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, in not opting for an outright smoking ban in England and Wales.
“We believe the government is not going far enough,” IOSH president Lawrence Waterman commented. “Passive smoking is well-known to be a serious health hazard, and is associated with lung cancer and heart disease. The exclusion of private clubs and pubs serving cold food, and the delay in the implementation date until 2008, will put workers at a needless risk from the effects of passive smoking.”
Three million workers in the UK are regularly exposed to passive smoke, and IOSH called on the health secretary to remember that these people are entitled to adequate and prompt protection, including those who may be smokers themselves.
IOSH called on the government to include all enclosed workplaces in the ban, with special arrangements for workplaces in which people also live, and for employees who visit people’s homes to provide a service.
Lawrence added: “We recommend that such a ban be aided by the provision of counselling and support for workers no longer allowed to smoke at work and for those wishing to give up.
“IOSH would strongly urge the government to rethink its position and bring about a total workplace ban and earlier implementation date, before more workers needlessly suffer ill-health and death from second-hand smoke.”