Employers in England are today being urged not to wait until next summer before banning smoking in their workplaces.
From next summer all workplaces in England – with a few minor exceptions – must be smoke-free or employers will face prosecution.
The TUC said employers should already be thinking about how to protect their staff by outlawing the smoking, which it claims is responsible for the deaths of about 700 workers a year.
In a guide published today to coincide with the closing date for submissions on the draft smoking regulations – the TUC said employers should be working out the most sensible ways to implement the regulations.
The guide says that every workplace should have a smoking policy – drawn up in consultation with staff – that protects smokers from persecution and offers them help giving up. It will also need to cover what happens to persistent smokers who breach the ban, as well as breaks for staff who will soon have to go outside to light up.
Brendan Barber, general secretary, said: “For every month that employers wait to introduce a ban more employees will die or become seriously ill as a result of second-hand smoke at work.
“With about 700 workers dying every year from smoking-related diseases caused by passive smoking at work, there is no sensible reason why employers can’t be sitting down with staff now to talk about how the ban will happen and how to make every workplace a safer, healthier place to be.”