How Can Smoking be a Health and Safety Risk in a Workplace?
Since the introduction of new legislation in many countries such as the UK over the past decade or so which prevents smoking in public buildings including places of work, the issue of health and safety with regards to smoking in the workplace has become largely irrelevant. However, there are still countries where this legislation has not yet been introduced, along with those who deliberately flout the rules.
In countries where smoking is still allowed in a place of work, the main risks to health will come from passive smoking where others are forced to breath in other's smoke, and the potential for dropped or discarded cigarettes to start a fire if it comes into contact with flammable material or liquids such as oil or petrol.
There may still be potential for danger even in countries where legislation prohibits smoking in a place of work. Despite legislation and the risk of punishment there will still be people who break the law and smoke at work.
Some workplaces will be outside, such as a construction site, and whilst they may not be covered by legislation in terms of it being outdoors, there should still be rules imposed by the owners and operators to prevent smoking where it poses a risk of causing a significant accident or incident if it caused a fire and/or an explosion. As far as construction sites are concerned, the likely presence of fuel for machinery and many different forms of flammable material will mean that any construction site manager should strictly enforce a no smoking on site policy, or create a specific smoking area which is well away from any sources of fuel for a fire in order to reduce the likelihood of a fire being started from a used or discarded cigarette or cigar.