Managing Designated Employee Smoking Areas

smoking equipmentAn increasing number of states and municipalities are limiting or banning indoor smoking. According to the Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, as of April of 2013, about 81.3% of all Americans live under a ban on smoking in “workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars, by either a state, commonwealth of local law.”

For owners of manufacturing and warehousing facilities, this simplifies the issue of limiting or controlling employee smoking because local laws can now be applied to the work place. But this needs to be balanced against the right and desires of employees who smoke.

Happy employees are productive employees, so finding a way to accommodate those workers who still smoke can be advantageous to management.

Establishing Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas

Many local laws ban smoking indoors or within 15 feet of a public entranceway. The theory behind this is to prevent non-smokers from being exposed to second-hand smoke, which some studies have determined can have the same health risks as smoking.

One solution is to establish outdoor designated employee smoking areas that are located the required distance from entrances. These designated smoking areas serve the dual purpose of allowing workers who smoke to legally apply their right to smoke and also provide a single location where they can be monitored so that they return from their breaks on time and ready to work.

Assigning a designated smoking area not only shows your workers that you are concerned about their comfort and convenience — for both smoking and non-smoking employees — but it also discourages workers from sneaking off for smoke breaks in unauthorized areas, such as on shipping docks or in out of the way alcoves where it is difficult to supervise them.

Dealing with  Trash and Debris

A problem that sometimes occurs with designated smoking areas, however, is that they can quickly become disorderly and trash-ridden, especially if  there are inadequate facilities for employees who smoke to dispose of their cigarette butts.

Bahrns offers a simple, convenient and affordable solution with outdoor smoking receptacles. These products are designed to keep designated smoking areas clean and free of litter and debris. Smokers can dispose of their butts and ashes into these convenient receptacles when they are through with their smoke break.

When you establish a regular cleaning schedule for the emptying and cleaning of these receptacles for your maintenance staff, it’s easy to keep the designated smoking area just as neat and orderly as the other areas of your facility.

Outdoor smoking receptacles come in various shapes and designs, from durable butt cans to aesthetically pleasing and functional smokers’ poles. Bahrns also offers wall-mounted outdoor ashtrays.

Protection from the Elements

Another consideration is weather conditions. When the temperatures outside are sub-freezing or it’s raining or snowing, employees who smoke are putting their health at risk if they are forced to take their breaks in an unprotected area.

One solution is to install temporary or permanent shelters that protect employees from the weather. These can be something as simple as a canvas awning or a more permanent shelter made of see-through plastic.

Finally, consider installing benches in the designated smoking areas. Not only will it attract more smokers to the area, cutting down on illicit smoking in unauthorized areas, but it will allow workers to relax and rest more easily during their smoking breaks so they can return to their job refreshed and more productive.