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Employee Smoking Policies in Assisted Living Facilities

By brian barrick
October 21, 2013

Employee smoking policies are very important within assisted living homes.  Policies are oftentimes implemented within this type of environment to enhance the safety of the workplace.  Such policies will aid the facility in minimizing risks and protecting staff and residents from workplace accidents.

Implementing an Employee Smoking Policy

In order to develop an effective policy, there are a few key components that will need to be considered.

·      Assess the needs of the facility to determine the type of policy that is required
·         Reference state laws to ensure the policy does not conflict with any state regulations
·         Identify the number of smoke breaks allowed and the allotted time allowed for each break
·         Designate the specified smoking areas and smoke-free zones around the facility
·         Ensure your assisted living home has developed signage that is easily identifiable to ensure employees are smoking and disposing cigarette butts and matches in designated areas.
·          Promote smoking cessation programs if offered.  This is a good approach that may be considered to encourage employee health and wellness objectives within the organization.
·         Be sure to disclose any restrictions while on duty or limitations while in the presence of residents.
·         Specifically identify products classified under the smoking policy such as tobacco products to include cigarettes, pipes, cigars and snuff.
·         Provide procedures for maintenance of the smoking areas
·        Identify the disciplinary procedures for when the smoking policy is violated
·         For those employees that may transport residents, be sure to specify smoking restrictions within vehicles while transporting residents.
·         Communicate the policy.  Consider posting the policy throughout the facility within company vehicles, employee handbook and discussed in new hire orientation.
·         Maintain a signed copy of the policy in each employee file

There are many smoking hazards residents may be subject to when exposed to tobacco smoke.  In addition to this, the facility becomes subject to liability when a smoking policy is not in place.  To protect the facility, staff and residents from such exposure, it is essential to develop and implement smoking policies within the workplace.  After all, employee smoking policies are a proactive measure to safeguard the facility.  Regardless if your assisted living home allows employees to smoke on the premises or promote a smoke-free workplace environment, it is essential to develop a written company policy to establish guidelines and procedures by which employees should follow.

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