Tobacco smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death in Australia, and yet each year in South Australia alone more than 1,000 people die from tobacco-related causes. People who have successfully quit smoking report feeling fitter and more energetic - and they are also saving money.
Smoking is prohibited by law in all enclosed workplaces and shared work areas such as offices, shops, factories and work vehicles.
Workplace exposure to passive smoke can produce symptoms of ill health, particularly for people with pre‑existing medical conditions, such as respiratory or cardiovascular.
Workers must be protected from the harmful health effects of exposure to second hand tobacco smoke. At the same time, workers who smoke should not be stigmatised.
- ensure that smoking in or around the workplace does not create a risk to their own or anyone else’s health and safety.
- manage the risks by identifying the hazards, assessing the risks and taking action to eliminate or control them.
Safety solutions at work
Workplaces can be a good setting for promoting healthy attitudes towards smoking, especially through workplace education and awareness. By supporting your workers to quit smoking you can benefit from a healthier and happier workforce and a safer workplace for everyone.
If a smoking-related hazard is identified in your workplace, you need to eliminate or reduce any related harm, as far as is practicable. It is your responsibility to keep your workers safe at work. Depending on the type of work, a workplace may be a vehicle, residential property, office, factory or other location. Consider the different locations your workers undertake their work and risk assess accordingly. If the control measures are not effective, then you may need to review them. Consult your workers on the types of hazards they experience in their workplace.
The most effective work health and wellbeing programs follow the same steps as successful safety programs, so your efforts to manage smoking are best done as part of an integrated approach.
Our Simple Steps to Safety guide, with useful templates and checklists, will help you to include work health and safety as part of your business planning. Following these steps can help you create a positive work health, safety and wellbeing culture that contributes to the success of your business.
Use our health and safety checklist to help identify smoking-related hazards in your workplace and find areas for improvement. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is smoking discouraged as part of your workplace culture?
- Is there a smoke-free policy that addresses exposure to passive smoke, and are people aware of this policy?
- Is smoking restricted on the worksite, including in work vehicles?
- Are Quit Smoking programs and messages promoted?
View our Top 10 Tips video, which can be used as a discussion starter or inspiration for toolbox talks and group exercises around sharing the responsibility for maintaining and improving health and wellbeing.
Seek information, advice and support from our free workplace advisory service if you need it.
Taking personal responsibility
Having a responsible attitude to smoking is an important part of everyone’s overall health and wellbeing. If you reduce or cut out smoking you will feel healthier, sleep better, save money and feel more energetic.
Read our Top 10 Tips to maintaining and improving your own health and wellbeing. Notice what you are already doing well, but be honest with yourself. For example, if you think you need to cut down on cigarettes, write it down as an area for improvement.
Seek information and support if you need it from the following:
Aim to be considerate of others when you are away from work too. Smoking in enclosed public places such as pubs, clubs, bingo venues and the Adelaide Casino is prohibited, and new smoke-free outdoor dining laws were introduced in July 2016.
Restrictions also apply to smoking in:
- motor vehicles, if a child is present
- certain prescribed public transport areas
- certain public areas such as the Royal Adelaide Show, Rundle Mall and Moseley Square, Glenelg.
Use these resource links for information, tips and tools to help you work towards improving the health and wellbeing of everyone at your workplace:
- SA Health Healthy Workers Healthy Futures: ideas to reduce smoking in your workplace
- SA Health: Smoke-free workplaces guide – refer to page 5 for a sample smoke-free workplace policy
- Smoke Free: Australian Government healthy workers portal