When the Health Act 2006 comes into force next summer, it will outlaw smoking in virtually all indoor public places and workplaces. Ross Bentley finds out how employers are preparing for the regulations.
Throughout England and Wales, employers are preparing for the Health Act 2006. Due to come into force on 1 July next year, it will outlaw smoking in virtually all indoor public places and workplaces, including work vehicles.
But what steps have some employers already taken and what issues have they faced along the way?
Knowing new smoke-free rules were pending, George Dix, works director at Essex-based manufacturing company Transporter Engineering, surveyed all 87 employees three months ago to find out how many were in favour of a smoke-free workplace. With a 66% majority wanting a smoke-free site, Dix decided to act sooner rather than later and recently banned smoking on the shop floor.
As part of this initiative, Dix drew up a formal smoking policy for the company and sent out literature containing advice on giving up smoking and contact details of support groups.
Practising what he preaches, Dix is in the third month of quitting cigarettes and says things are going well.
With smoking banned from the beginning of this year in the spectator areas at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Yorkshire's premier cricket and rugby venue, HR manager Kellie Gummerson has been overseeing the phasing out of smoking in staff areas.
Following the announcement of the new legislation, a staff focus group was formed to look at the issue. As a result, smoking was banned in all offices but the staff room kept as a temporary haven for smokers.
"However, non-smoking employees complained this arrangement meant they couldn't use the room, so shortly afterwards the room was designated a non-smoking area," says Gummerson.
Stadium staff who want a cigarette have a designated outdoor area to go to. The space sits between two buildings, has an overhead cover and a number of smoking bins. This is fine during the week, but on match days the area is a thoroughfare for sports fans attending matches, meaning staff are not allowed to smoke there.
"The issue of where staff can smoke on match days is still unresolved," says Gummerson. "Staff understand we can't have them standing there, or stepping out of the gates to have a cigarette when the stadium is busy - it's just a bad