Since the Health Act 2006 banned smoking in enclosed workspaces, employers are at risk of breaching health and safety law and could face heavy fines.
What must an operator and driver do in order to comply with the law? For starters, displaying company policies both in the cabs and on depot walls ensures full awareness of what is and is not allowed – for instance, a driver on a night out may only smoke when they have stopped working for the day. Reports show that fines of £200 have been issued for failing display a no smoking sign in a cab – more than four times the fine amount had the driver actually been smoking.
Even though the number of drivers who smoke is falling in tandem with the rest of society, there have been some instances of fines reported by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), including £50 penalty charge notices. In many of these instances, the cigarettes were in fact electronic cigarettes which are not illegal to smoke in a vehicle of more than one person. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove that it was an e-cigarette being smoked – the advice is to avoid any kind of smoking at all.
The fines for a company failing to prevent smoking in a smoke free place can range up to £2500, and up to £200 for an individual if awarded by a court.