Smoke Free WA Health System Policy

Applicable to: All WA Health employees, contractors, visitors and patients

Description: Updated Smoke Free Smoke Free WA Health System Policy including partial exemption for involuntary mental health in-patients in certain circumstances.

Legal requirements: Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA)

Smoke Free WA Health System Policy

This policy replaces Policy No. OD 0182/09 and aims to minimise the exposure of employees, health service consumers and visitors to environmental tobacco smoke, or second hand smoke, across all Western Australian Health System premises and worksites.

Smoking is not permitted on all Department of Health (DOH) premises and grounds throughout Western Australia.  This policy applies to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and other persons who enter DOH owned or leased buildings, grounds or vehicles for any purpose whatsoever.

1. Policy Rationale

  1. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) provides, amongst other things, that an employer must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees of the employer.  This duty extends to ensuring that any premises controlled by the employer where the employees work (and the means of access to or exit from the premises) are safe and without risks to health and ensuring that systems of work and the working environment of the employees are safe and without risks to health.
  2. The United States Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health titled ‘The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke‘ (2006) concluded, among other things, that:
    • Second hand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.
    • Children exposed to second hand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
    • Exposure of adults to second hand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
    • The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke.
  3. The World Health Organisation produced Indoor Air Quality Guidelines (2003) following an evaluation of the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke exposure.  This report identified a number of health risks associated with environmental tobacco smoke exposure and concluded that there is no safe exposure level for environmental tobacco smoke.
  4. The DOH recognises that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to cause lung cancer and heart disease in non-smokers, as well as many other illnesses and health conditions.
  5. This policy is consistent with the Australian National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (NOHSC) Guidance Note on the Elimination of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace.

2. Policy Aims

This policy aims to:

  1. Protect and improve the health of staff from the dangers of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke;
  2. Protect and improve the health of patients, visitors and contractors from the dangers of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; and
  3. Set an example to other employers and workforces, particularly in Government and health-related areas.

3. Guide to Management, Compliance and Enforcement

Guidelines for management, compliance and enforcement’ provides recommendations regarding state-wide and site-specific management, compliance and enforcement strategies for the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy.

4. Communication Strategies

Guidelines for Smoke Free WA Health System Policy communication strategies’ provides recommendations regarding state-wide and site-specific communication strategies to ensure that everyone entering state-wide DOH premises, grounds and vehicles understands that smoking is not allowed.

5. Assistance to Employees

Guidelines for the provision of assistance to nicotine dependent staff’ provides recommendations for the provision of appropriate assistance for nicotine dependent staff across state-wide DOH facilities.

6. Assistance to Inpatients/Health Consumers

Clinical guidelines and procedures for the management of nicotine dependent inpatients’ provides recommendations for the provision of appropriate medications and other assistance to facilitate the treatment of nicotine dependent inpatients in state-wide DOH facilities.

7. Implementation of the Policy

  1. Responsibility for implementing this policy and ongoing day-to-day management, compliance and enforcement of this policy is delegated to Chief Executives, Executive Directors, Directors, Senior Managers and Team Leaders across the state-wide health system.
  2. Appropriate state-wide and site-specific management, compliance and enforcement strategies must be implemented in accordance with ‘Guidelines for management, compliance and enforcement of Smoke Free WA Health System Policy’.
  3. Appropriate state-wide and site-specific communication strategies must be implemented in accordance with ‘Guidelines for Smoke Free WA Health System Policy communication strategies’, to ensure that everyone entering DOH premises, grounds and vehicles understands that smoking is not allowed.
  4. Access will be facilitated for employees seeking individual or group support and appropriate nicotine replacement or other assistance to address nicotine dependence in accordance with ‘Guidelines for the provision of assistance to nicotine dependent staff’’.
  5. Appropriate treatment for nicotine dependent inpatients in all DOH facilities will be made available in accordance with ‘Clinical guidelines and procedures for the management of nicotine dependent inpatients’.
  6. The DOH allows that adult (18 years of age and over) involuntary mental health inpatients may be exempted from the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy, in certain circumstances. These circumstances are detailed within the ‘Guidelines for the partial exemption of involuntary mental health in-patients aged 18 years and over in certain circumstances from the application of certain aspects of the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy’.
  7. All Health Services are required to report to the Director General on a 6-monthly basis, commencing on 1 March 2013, regarding the results from compliance monitoring and other current and proposed activities to support measures at respective DOH sites to provide a smoke free environment for all employees, patients and contractors.

Kim Snowball
DIRECTOR GENERAL
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Date of effect: 18 January 2013 to 18 January 2018

Policy Framework

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