September 15, 2013
The following will address occupational health and safety issues regarding the handling of exposure to chemicals and second-hand smoke in workplace environments. This in part is to assist in securing the safety and health of employees, visitors, guests and other parties who at any time would be present on the premises of the organization as well as to the position the organization to be fully compliant with all laws, rules, regulations and guidelines as is subject to state, federal, and other law making entities that would have jurisdiction regarding the subject matter.
Chemical Exposure and Second-hand Smoke in the Workplace
Secondhand smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles that includes smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar of pipe tip, smoke that has been exhaled of breathed out the person or people smoking as well as over 7,000 chemicals including hundreds that are considered toxic and known carcinogens (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). A great deal of exposure to second hand smoke occurs in the workplace. Eradicating smoking in indoor spaces is the only significant tactic to fully safeguard nonsmokers from exposure.
Risk Factors for Exposure
For nonsmokers, breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system and increases risk for heart attack as well as an overall increased risk of heart disease by as much as 25-30% (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Occupational disparities in secondhand smoke exposure has decreased over the past two decades, but there is still a remaining exposure risk in this demographic.
Smoking is a conscious choice of the party that engages in the activity and is the right of the individual to choose to do so. An organization cannot decide this for any of its employees or affiliates, however it is also the right of all those parties who choose not to engage in the activity to be able to avoid any contact with smoking or its counterparts in order to protect themselves from harm. It is also the duty of the organization to enforce policies and rules that would keep such parties safe from the effects of exposure to secondhand smoking. For this reason, the company has a no smoking policy within the facility at any time regardless of the presence of other smokers or nonsmokers alike. This includes, workstations, lavatories, break rooms, cafeterias and any other contained facility that is the property of the company. For those who are smokers, we will have designated smoking areas outside the facility located in three specific areas with signs and shall be on the premises at a distance