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01 May 1998

Smoking completely banned in third of workplaces
Indoor smoking bans have been introduced in a third of workplaces and nearly half have introduced policies which prohibit smoking in work areas, according to the results of a survey for the Labour Research Department's Bargaining Report magazine.

But in many cases, employers have ignored guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concerning the introduction of policies and provision for smokers.

The survey found that a third of employers had not given the three months' notice recommended as good practice by the HSE before implementing the smoking ban or policy. And although most responses came from workplaces which recognised unions, the unions had not been consulted about the introduction of a smoking policy or ban in almost a third of cases.

The HSE advises that an effective policy on smoking at the workplace will not only protect the non-smoker, but should also encourage smokers to reduce their consumption of tobacco or give up their habit, but few employers in the survey appeared to see themselves as having a health promotion or education role concerning smoking at work. The majority of employers in the survey introduced smoking policies or bans in order to provide a smoke-free environment for their employees.

While a quarter of employers in the survey provided on-site classes to give up smoking, only five percent provided time off and payment to attend courses to give up smoking and just 15% paid for nicotine patches or gum. Smoking rooms or areas were provided in 61% of workplaces, but 40% of these were not provided with sufficient extraction ventilation.

Smoking breaks were permitted during work time in around half of the workplaces in the survey.

The survey also found that although the smoking policy or ban covers all parts of the workplace and everyone in the workplace in the majority of cases, 75%, smoking bans are more likely in offices than on the shop floor, and in some cases higher management was exempted from the ban.

Notes to editors

The survey is based on questionnaire returns from trade union representatives in 275 workplaces across a range of industry and service sectors, both public and private. The unions participating in the survey were: AEEU, ASLEF, BFAWU, BIFU, CSP, GMB, GPMU, KFAT, MSF, PCS, SoR, STE, T&G, UNISON, USDAW.
Bargaining Report is published 11 times a year by the Labour Research Department and is available on subscription - telephone 0171-928 3649 for details. LRD is a trade union-backed research organisation with over 95% of the TUC membership affiliated to it.
For further information contact Andrea Oates on 0171 902 9826.

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