TechIOSH RDN LicCIPD
DenMed Training and Consultancy
Jane is a technician member with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Europe's leading body for Health and Safety professionals. Jane holds office on a range of Health and Safety advisory committees, has produced a series of Health and Safety advice sheets, and is a licentiate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Jane works with primary care trusts and general practices around the UK, giving presentations, delivering certificated training courses, and providing consultancy to assist primary healthcare teams in managing Health and Safety
Why has the law been introduced?
Public opinion research shows that people are more aware of the effects of "secondhand smoke", also known as passive smoke, and the positive health effects of going smokefree.
The primary aim of the smokefree law is to protect people, including those at work, from exposure to harmful effects of other people's smoke. Healthcare workers are unlikely to be a high-risk occupational group, due to a large number of premises already being smokefree. However, the law applies to all people at work.
How does the law affect practices?
Most practices and healthcare premises have been smokefree for sometime, as this probably formed part of your health promotion strategy. You may also have identified the need to manage risks associated with fire safety, perhaps as a result of your own internal assessment of fire risks and/or the need to adhere to the requirements of your insurance company.
However, don't assume you are already doing enough – you now need to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the new smokefree law.
What must practices do to comply?
Review and revise your existing situation
Develop a smokefree policy
What are the penalties if someone breaks the law?
Local councils are responsible for enforcing the smokefree law in England. They have similar powers to other law enforcement officers, and can enter your premises at any reasonable time to check compliance. The following penalties apply for those who break the law:
It is a criminal offence not to comply with the smokefree law. Practice managers could be at risk and held accountable if the practice fails to act appropriately.
What else should be considered?
Where can you get more information?
If you are in any doubt about compliance with the smokefree law, you may want to contact your local council for advice. For some further sources of information, see Resources.
At the time of writing, it is too soon to give accurate information relating to compliance with the new law in England. However, it is understood this will be compiled from local council enforcing authority inspections, which will include details of any penalty notices or fines issued.
Health and Safety Executive
Royal College of Nursing
Website contains details on protecting community staff from exposure to secondhand smoke
Trade Union Congress (TUC)
Website contains guidance for people who work in other people's homes
Office of Tobacco Control – Ireland
Smokefree Law Scotland