Smoking in the Workplace
Smoking laws do not obligate the employer to facilitate the addiction of a smoker to nicotine. The Tobacco Products Control Act (1993) provides for the protection of non-smokers. In line with this law, Senate and Council of Rhodes University approved a motion that no smoking be permitted in any University building (a public place), effective from 1998.
At present, the "prescribed distance" that a person may smoke tobacco away from the "window of, ventilation inlet of, doorway to or entrance into a public place" has not been specified. Until such time as the regulations are updated, legal experts recommend a distance of 5 metres or more.
National Council Against Smoking email ucko(at)iafrica.com, 011-725.1514 (NCAS office), 011-720.3145 (Quit Line)
SA Labour Guide Forum and use a search term such as "smoking in the workplace", "smoking areas", etc.
Rhodes University Safety, Health & Environmental Officer: 046-603.7205 or safety(at)ru.ac.za
An extract from the Tobacco Products Control Act (1993) - retrieved July 13, 2010, from http://www.acts.co.za/tobacco/ - 2. Control over smoking of tobacco products
1) a) No person may smoke any tobacco product in—
i) a public place;
ii) any area within a prescribed distance from a window of, ventilation inlet of, doorway to or entrance into a public place;
iii) any motor vehicle when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle; or
iv) any place contemplated in subsection (3).
b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the Minister may permit smoking in the prescribed portion of a public place, subject to any prescribed condition.
c) Notwithstanding the fact that a private dwelling is excluded from the definition of 'workplace', no person may smoke any tobacco product in a private dwelling if that private dwelling is used for any commercial childcare activity, or for schooling or tutoring.
2) The owner of or person in control of a place or an area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or an employer in respect of a workplace, shall ensure that no person smokes in that place or area.
3) The Minister may prohibit the smoking of any tobacco product in any prescribed outdoor public place, or such portion of an outdoor public place as may be prescribed, where persons are likely to congregate within close proximity of one another or where smoking may pose a fire or other hazard.
4) The owner of or person in control of a place or area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or employer in respect of a workplace, shall display the prescribed signs and shall make the prescribed public announcements in order to inform any person who enters or who is in or on such place or area of any prohibition on smoking.
5) An employer must ensure that—
a) employees may object to smoking in the workplace in contravention of this Act without retaliation of any kind;
b) employees who do not want to be exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are not so exposed;
c) it is not a condition of employment, expressly or implied, that any employee is required to work in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted; and
d) employees are not required to sign any indemnity for working in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted.
6) The owner of or person in control of a place or area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or employer in respect of a workplace, shall ensure that no person under the age of 18 years is present in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted or in the area within a public place contemplated in subsection (1)(b) in or on which smoking is permitted.
7) Sections 80 to 89 of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003), apply with the necessary changes to this section.
An extract from the Tobacco Products Control Act (1993) - retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.acts.co.za/tobacco/:
Notice relating to Smoking of Tobacco Products in Public Places:
3) An employer, owner, licensee, lessee or person in control of a public place may designate a portion of a public place as a smoking area, provided that-
a) the designated smoking area does not exceed 25% of the total floor area of the public place;
b) the designated smoking area is separated from the rest of the public place by a solid partition and an entrance door on which the sign "SMOKING AREA" is displayed, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background;
c) the ventilation of the designated smoking area is such that air from the smoking area is directly exhausted to the outside and is not re-circulated to any other area within the public place;
d) the message: "SMOKING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND TO THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN, PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN AND NONSMOKERS. FOR HELP TO QUIT PHONE (011) 720 3145" is displayed at the entrance to the designated smoking area, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background; and
e) notices and signs indicating areas where smoking is permitted and where it is not permitted must be permanently displayed and signs indicating that smoking is not permitted must carry the warning: "ANY PERSON WHO FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THIS NOTICE SHALL BE PROSECUTED AND MAY BE LIABLE TO A FINE".
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