Employers warned over E-Cigarettes policy
Employers should make sure they have a robust policy in place to cover the use of electronic cigarettes in the workplace, warns law firm Blake Morgan.
The advice from our employment team at law firm Blake Morgan, comes after the World Health Organisation recommended that the use of the devices be banned indoors.
There is currently nothing in the law that prevents a person from “vaping” anywhere, including in enclosed buildings and in the workplace.
But as concerns mount over the possibility that toxins may be present in second-hand vapour produced by electronic cigarettes, James says firms need to make sure they have a clear set of guidelines that all staff understand.
James said: “Employers have an obligation to provide a safe place of work. Colleagues may be concerned about people using these devices near them because the long-term health implications are not fully known at this stage.
“It is for employers to make their own policy decision – and if that includes allowing employees to use e-cigarettes at work, they should first consult with the workforce as a whole and take into account views raised by staff.
“If employers decide to ban the use of e-cigarettes at work, then they must communicate the ban clearly to all staff, explaining their reasons. They may also want to make an outdoor space available, away from the designated smoking areas, and allow for “vape breaks” that should be monitored as they are for smokers,
“Undoubtedly there will be variations in the safety and quality of e-cigarettes and there is clear potential for employees to be exposed to health risks. In the circumstances, we would suggest their employers treat e-cigarettes as they do ordinary cigarettes, certainly until the potential risks are better known and they are more clearly regulated.
“The most important thing, whatever employers decide, is that the workplace rules are clearly established and communicated so that all staff are left in no doubt as to what company policy allows.”