Signage is used a lot in health and safety in the UK and the display of ‘no smoking signs’ has been a particularly hot topic.
Since laws came in that outlawed smoking in public places, businesses have had to be aware of the new rules and make sure they are compliant with regards to displaying ‘no smoking’ signs to stop people smoking in areas that they traditionally used. The easiest way to make people aware of where smoking is prohibited is by putting signs in restricted areas.
The laws in 2007 that first outlawed smoking were very prescriptive with regards to how many signs a business needed, what size they should be and exactly where they should be displayed.
In a move that demonstrated the successful response to the new laws, the UK Government amended the legislation in October 2012 and relaxed the requirements on signs.
What changed on 1st October 2012?
Basically, the laws are slightly more relaxed with regards to how many signs you need on your premises. However, you still need to make sure you have at least one “no smoking” sign displayed on your premises where everyone is likely to see it. You’ll need to think clearly about this and take into consideration the following things:
People entering your premises
It is good practice to have a “no smoking” sign displayed somewhere that everyone entering the building can see it clearly. This is particularly important if you are customer-facing. That way, no one can plead ignorance of the law if caught! By the way, you are the one who will get into trouble if someone on your premises is caught smoking illegally.
The usual smoking hangouts
Every business or premises has that area where people would go to smoke before the law changed. These habits are hard to break, especially if people have worked for your business for quite a few years. The old smoking spots are often regarded as the place where they’ll always smoke and it is difficult to change that mindset. Unfortunately, it is one you need to change. It would make good logical sense to have a “no smoking” sign here to deter anyone who might forget.
Entrances to different parts of the same building
If your premises is large and has different sections then it is best practice to have “no smoking” signs displayed at the entrance to all of these. That way, no one caught smoking outside will be able to say that they did not know.
Unless you know the day to day movements of everyone in your building, it’s going to be really hard to determine who is likely to enter your building from a particular entrance.
To ensure you have made a reasonable effort to ensure you have informed everyone that they can’t smoke on your premises you should make sure you have signs in all of these areas.
You can find the official 2012 changes to the original 2007 legislation at http://www.cieh.org
The sign you need to display, which is following the laws set out in both the 2007 and 2012 legislation can be located and bought from Manutan UK here.