While the general smoking ban enforced by the Health Act of 2006 has been in effect in all parts of the UK for six years now, the different elements of the ban have been staggered in their introduction, making it a touch confusing for some business owners who remain unsure exactly where employees can and can’t smoke.
One of the more puzzling elements of the smoking van is the section that applies to work vehicles such as vans, both light and heavy goods vehicles. A recent survey showed that of 1,500 van drivers, less than half knew anything about specific rules regarding smoking in commercial vehicles. More worryingly, almost half (49%) said they had received no information from their employer about the law.
The law says that a work vehicle must be smoke-free if it is used for work by more than one person, even if the people who use the vehicle do so at different times or on different days or only intermittently. A vehicle must also be smoke-free if it is used to transport members of the public or a section of the public, whether or not for reward or hire.
However, the smoking ban does not apply to a vehicle that is used primarily for the private purposes of a person who owns it. In this case, it does not matter than the vehicle is used occasionally for work by more than one employee, provided it’s primarily for private use.
Educating employees and being aware of the smoking ban’s provisions is an important task if you want to avoid the repercussions which usually involve hefty fines. For example, for failing to display no-smoking signs in commercial vehicles you can be with faced a £1,000 fine. There are financial incentives as well as penalties to consider as well, since the rules from many van insurance providers state that lower risk drivers who aren’t smoking behind the wheel can enjoy even lower insurance premiums.
Independent research from a collection of insurance firms has discovered that smoking while driving is actually more distracting than talking on a mobile phone. Both practices incur heavy penalties if you are caught doing them and will inevitably lead to steeper insurance premiums.