Smoke-free Workplace Policy

Purpose

The management and staff of Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd are committed to the provision of high quality health services that improve the wellbeing and health status of individuals and families living in the Kimberley Region. To support health improvement, KAMS has resolved to: ensure a safe, smoke free work environment for staff and visitors; support staff who smoke in their attempts to quit; set an example for the wider community; and help others improve tobacco control in the Kimberley.

Rationale

There is now overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is harmful to health. There is no safe level of exposure to ETS. Long-term exposure to ETS can have serious adverse health effects including heart disease and lung cancer. Breathing ETS can increase the risk of heart attack, particularly for those with existing heart disease or asthma, and even brief exposure to ETS can trigger symptoms such as irritation of the eyes and nose, headaches, sore throat and cough.

In Western Australia, the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and associated regulations legislate against smoking in enclosed public places, and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 prohibit employers, employees and self-employed persons smoking in enclosed workplaces.

Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 requires an employer, so far as practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which the employees are not exposed to hazards.

Because of the acknowledged health hazards of exposure to ETS, and to comply with the legal obligations, KAMS has adopted a smoke-free workplace policy that formalises its commitment to, and extends beyond the legislated smoking bans.

Scope

This policy applies to all KAMS Board Members, staff, patients and visitors to KAMS premises.

Responsibilities

All KAMS Board Members and staff have responsibility for implementation, review and improvement of the KAMS Smoke-free Workplace Policy. The KAMS Management Team has primary responsibility to assist, guide and support in the implementation of KAMS’s smoke-free workplace policy. Consultation and review of the policy is via the OSH mechanisms.

Policy details

KAMS Board resolved on the 24th September 2007 at their General Meeting in Halls Creek to make all KAMS Administration offices and remote clinics smoke free environments, commencing the 1st January 2008.

Non-smoking provision

Smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas and within 15 metres of any entrance of any workplace owned or leased by KAMS. Smoking is only permitted outside the areas as described above in during award meal breaks and scheduled rest periods. Further, KAMS staff members are not permitted to smoke when they are acting in an official capacity off-site or where they are in KAMS uniform. Smoking is prohibited in all vehicles owned or leased by KAMS.

Signage shall be erected and maintained at all site and building entrances and in vehicles owned or leased by KAMS to clearly identify areas where smoking is and is not permitted.

Staff will be informed of this smoke-free workplace policy through internal communication channels e.g. staff newsletter, email alerts and at staff meetings. Each staff member will receive a copy of this policy, which will also be available on the KAMS website. All recruitment advertisements will state that KAMS is a smoke-free organisation.

Staff who do choose to continue smoking should:

Respect the rights of other organisations and individuals to maintain their own smoke-free areas; and Consider the effects on the environment of any discarded cigarette butts.

Information and smoking cessation support

To encourage and assist smokers who are considering quitting, the following support will be provided:

  • Materials such as pamphlets, brochures and fact sheets will be available to all staff
  • Quit kits will be provided to staff who want to quit smoking
  • Referral to smoking cessation support services and support via staff newsletters and staff email alerts will be provided
  • Subsidising of the cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy will be provided

Compliance strategy

Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring compliance with this smoke-free workplace policy for areas and personnel under their responsibility. All staff are responsible for ensuring visitors comply with this policy.

Any staff member or visitor who is in breach of this policy will be requested to stop, and reminded of their responsibilities under this policy. Staff members who continue to breach this policy will be subject to disciplinary action. Visitors who refuse to comply with this policy will be asked to leave.

Definitions

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS):

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is described as a combination of side stream smoke (smoke from the burning end of a tobacco product) and exhaled mainstream smoke (the smoke breathed out by a smoker). The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified ETS as a proven human carcinogen (cancer causing agent).

Enclosed workplace:

To understand the meaning of enclosed workplace, it is important to firstly understand the meaning of a ‘workplace’. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 a ‘workplace’ means:

a place, whether or not in an aircraft, ship, vehicle, building, or other structure, where employees or self-employed people work or are likely to be in the course of their work.

A workplace is an ‘enclosed workplace’ if it has a ceiling or roof and is greater than 50% enclosed by walls, or other vertical structures or coverings.