Bosses in England and Wales are being called upon to be more vocal in issuing anti-smoking health messages to blow away any confusion surrounding the forthcoming smoking ban and make employees fully aware of its implications.
The new legislation to ban smoking comes into force in Wales from 2 April and in England from 1 July and will cover all public spaces and workplaces. There will be a limited number of exceptions to the law, notably private homes, residential care homes, hotel rooms and prisons.
A review of the costs and benefits of making workplaces smoke free in England revealed that there would be a total net benefit of between £2.3 billion and £2.7 billion for businesses.
Nurturing of healthier workforces could help to improve productivity lost through cigarette breaks and sick leave due to smoke-related illnesses. According to Action on Smoking and Health, over 30 million working days per year are lost in England and Wales through sickness caused by smoking.
Trevor Davies, health and safety expert at Croner, says: ‘It will take time for new workplace smoking policies to be implemented and understood, so employers have no need to panic. However, by acting sooner rather than later, they can get ahead of the legislation and ensure they’re on top of every part of it when it comes into force.’