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Dangerous and Wasteful: Smoking on Construction Sites Part 2

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Smoking on construction sites should be a concern for each and every general contractor that wants to stay on schedule. As discussed in part one, the average construction worker who smokes wastes over an hour per shift on smoking. But what should general contractors do about this dangerous and wasteful time sink? 

We previously discussed the issues that smoking presents on construction projects. Below, a Broward contractor attorney will discuss the legality of smoking on-site and how general contractors can foster a productive and smoke-free work environment. If you are ever concerned with the safety of your workers, consult with the Broward contractor attorneys from Cotney Construction Law. 

Is Smoking Legal on Construction Sites? 

In 2003, the Florida Legislature passed an amendment prohibiting smoking in most public and private businesses. E-cigarettes have also been banned in the workplace as of July 1, 2019. These amendments are extensions of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA) of 1985 that was passed to protect people from secondhand smoke. Your crew is not permitted to smoke if they are working indoors (indoors being an area that is at least 50 percent sheltered by walls and a ceiling). For information on the federal requirements for indoor air quality, consult with a Broward contractor attorney.  

But what does all of this mean for construction crews who work outdoors? This is where things get a little hazy. There are currently no Florida laws that address smoking outside of public buildings. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no regulations in place that specifically address outdoor smoking areas; however, OSHA does require employers to provide their workers with a hazard-free workplace. While smoking may be permitted outdoors, it is in your best interest to have rules in place that address smoking on your outdoor projects so that you can prevent fires, explosions, and subsequent OSHA investigations. 

Should General Contractors Adopt a Non-Smoking Policy? 

Yes, absolutely. Regardless of whether or not it’s legal, smoking is a clear safety hazard that results in a tremendous loss of productivity. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providing coverage for tobacco cessation treatment is effective at curbing the prevalence of smoking in the workplace. The CDC also reports that workers at smoke-free worksites were twice as likely to quit smoking when compared to workers at other worksites. 

Despite the prevalence of smoking in this industry, enforcing a smoke-free work environment is an achievable goal and can only benefit general contractors and their workers. The grim alternative could be a disastrous, preventable fire and subsequent investigation from OSHA. If you are concerned with the local and federal laws regarding worker safety, consult with our knowledgeable Broward contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Broward contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.