Fleet News

Smoking ban may affect fleet drivers

COMPANY car drivers could be banned from smoking behind the wheel while carrying a passenger as part of the Government’s new health bill.

Fleets are being warned that a vehicle used by more than one person should be treated as an extension to the workplace and that failing to do so could have serious health and safety implications.

It comes in the Government’s new Health Bill that aims to ban smoking in all workplaces by summer 2007.

On vehicles, the Bill says: ‘Any vehicle used as a ‘workplace’ by more than one person is covered by the ban.’ This would include a vehicle being used on company business carrying more than one person.

Commenting on the announcement, Gavin Jones, head of ProAct, a risk management service offered by leasing company Masterlease, said: ‘Businesses face a duty of care to their employees and that extends to while they are out on the road too.

‘The total ban from smoking in the workplace will extend to all vehicles carrying more than one person and could be particularly significant to trades like builders and plumbers, for whom their vehicle is essentially a mobile office from which they carry out the vast majority of their work.’

Jones added: ‘Of course, it may be difficult to enforce – it is hard to say how much control a company has over its employees’ actions, especially when they are rarely in the office. But should a law suit arise it could be the business that is held responsible.’

The Bill, published last week and ready to go through Parliament before becoming law, is part of Labour’s manifesto pledge that stated: ‘We will legislate to ensure that all enclosed public places and workplaces other than licensed premises will be smoke-free.’

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