Effects of Smoking in workplaces not covered
by the Smoking Ban
Briefing No. 160
The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act,
2005 came into effect on 26 March, 2006.
From that date all premises which are "wholly
or substantially enclosed", i.e. which have a roof and are
enclosed to less than half of the area of their walls, were deemed
to be no-smoking and it became an offence to smoke, or allow others
to smoke in those premises.
The premises fell into four categories:
Those to which the public has access;
Those which are being used as a place of work
Those used by a club or other association;
Those being used for the provision of education,
health or care services
Most workplaces where UNISON has members, with only
one or two exceptions, are covered by the Act.
There are a few exemptions to the law which are
mainly made on humanitarian grounds, including:
Designated rooms in psychiatric hospitals
Designated rooms in detention or offender
However, nothing in the law permits an employer
to allow smoking or to provide a smoking area. for employees.
In addition, many UNISON members visit clients and
service users in their own homes which are not subject to the
Assessment–1 year on
To find out how employers were operating the scheme,
particularly in those areas which were exempt from the Act, UNISON
carried out a Freedom of Information Request on employers in Scotland.
Employers were asked to send in copies of their
Smoking Policies, particularly as they applied to exempted premises
and to cover staff visiting the homes of service users.
We found that most employers had smoking policies,
but some had not been updated to take account of the new legislation.
Many policies submitted were the employer's main
policy which was then to be applied at Departmental level with
more relevant details. Many also included their departmental policies,
particularly from their social work and housing departments.
Visiting Clients' Homes
Several employers had policies which mentioned working
in clients' homes, although many had no such provision
Best practice occurred where employers carried out
risk assessments and planned appropriately, often advising clients
that they should refrain from smoking for one to two hours prior
to a visit and during any visit. In all cases, however, it was
expected that the employee would not smoke in clients' premises.
Some authorities have policies which provide for
a withdrawal of service ifclients will not co-operate, but this
is seen as a last resort at all times.
This includes Adult Hospices, wards in psychiatric
hospitals, etc., which are deemed to be the homes of the residents.
Some policies allow the provision of a designated
smoking area in a care home, or hospital and others only bedrooms
where adequate ventilation is provided. These are strictly for
the clients' benefit and are not to be used as general smoking
areas for staff or visitors.
Some employers have carried out risk assessments
of all clients in their establishments and provided individual
plans to cater for any who smoke.
Several also carry out risk assessments of their
staff to identify staff who may have medical problems or are pregnant
and then, wherever possible, reduce risks to those individuals.
Despite some confusion regarding the law on company
cars in Scotland, most employers have designated all cars used
for work purposes as smoke-free.
In addition, all vehicles used primarily for work
should have no-smoking signs displayed in them.
Issues for UNISON:
The policy should ensure that staff who are
expected to work in such areas are not exposed to smoke, particularly
if they have health problems, such as asthma or other chest
complaints or are pregnant.
A spreadsheet of individual responses from each
employer has been compiled. If any branch would wish to see the
spreadsheet or the response from their employer, please contact
Diane Anderson at the address given.
Scottish Executive Smoking Website
Guidance on smoking policies for the NHS, local
authorities and care service providers
Statutory Instrument referring to the Act
Diane Anderson -
@ the P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel -0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572
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