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HSC TO CONSULT ON FURTHER ACTION ON SMOKING IN THE WORKPLACE

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Welcoming the government's white paper 'Smoking Kills', the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has confirmed that i...
Welcoming the government's white paper 'Smoking Kills', the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has confirmed that it intends to consult on whether it should introduce an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on passive smoking at work.

HSC chairman Frank Davies said:

'The commission recognises that an ACoP is one possibility for a way forward, but it has not yet come to a final view. Before deciding what is the best way forward on this issue, the commission wants to find out what others think. In the spring of 1999, HSC will publish a consultative document - including an outline ACoP and a forecast of any economic impact - which will give interested parties the opportunity to give their views.'

If as a result of consulting, HSC agrees that an ACoP is appropriate, it would be based on the welfare provisions of health and safety law.

An ACoP has a similar status to the Highway Code in that if employers fail to follow its detailed guidance, a court may consider that the employer has broken the law on which the ACoP is based.

The Health and Safety Executive's existing guidance, 'Passive Smoking at Work', already recommends that employers should:-

- introduce a specific policy on smoking in the workplace which should give priority to the needs of non-smokers who do not wish to breathe tobacco smoke;

- take special care of people who have a health condition that may be made worse by tobacco smoke.

Copies of Passive Smoking at Work, IND(G) 63L are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6FS, tel: 01787-881165 or fax: 01787-313995.

Notes

1. An ACoP is a form of guidance. It gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. If employers follow the advice they will be

doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which the Code gives advice. If a company faces prosecution for failing to comply with an ACoP it must prove that the alternative methods it employed are just as successful as those in the Code in order to comply with the law.

PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 0541 545500, or write to:

HSE Information Centre, Broad Lane, Sheffield, S3 7HQ

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