Employers must ensure they have communicated their smoking policies to company car drivers if staff are to avoid proposed penalty fines. Last month, the Department of Health proposed penalty fines of £50 for company car drivers who smoke in a car that is to be passed to another employee later that day. However, the proposals, which are part of the Health Bill due to come into effect in summer 2007, do not apply to drivers who are the sole users of a car. Should this be passed as law, employers are advised to ban smoking in company vehicles, rather than have different guidelines for each group of drivers as the rules about who is legally allowed to smoke in cars may be difficult to understand.
Nasar Farooq, health and safety consultant at Croner Consulting, explained: "The company car comes under the heading of the workplace in many instances, and the best way to deal with these new laws is simply to say ‘no smoking, full stop’." Organisations which want to ensure they avoid penalty fares for smoking may be wise to only employ non-smokers. "It is definitely a solution. Just don’t employ people who smoke, then the problems won’t even arise," added Farooq.