There are now regulations applicable to smoking in company vehicles in place all over the UK. The regulations are specific to each part of the UK and although similar in some respects there are subtle differences that if ignored could cost you a tidy sum in fines.
So what are the rules and how can you make sure you don’t fall foul of them?
This simple guide from www.vanleasing.com will tell you how to ensure you are compliant no matter where you are driving throughout the UK.
Fully Compliant Throughout the UK in a Company Vehicle
Whether you are driving an HGV, LGV, van or car the easiest way to ensure you are fully compliant with all aspects of the regulations is to have a completely smoke free vehicle. This vehicle should also display a no smoking sign with the no-smoking symbol a minimum of 75mm in diameter in each compartment of the vehicle where people can sit. The ashtray should be removed if there is one and a smoke free policy introduced to staff. Vehicles conforming to these standards will be compliant no matter what area of the UK they are driving in.
If the vehicle is owned by the company and there is a chance that more than one person will drive it, then it should be smoke free.
There are some exceptions to the regulations when it is possible to smoke in a company vehicle, these exceptions are rather particular and should be carefully thought out before claiming they are valid in a given situation.
Company car used solely by one employee – If this employee picks up colleagues to go to meetings, if the vehicle is used by someone else when the employee is on holiday etc then this exception becomes null and void. The vehicle must only ever be used by that one employee.
A privately owned car used occasionally for company business is also exempt – occasionally is the key word here.
A vehicle which has a roof that can be stowed or removed will not have to be smoke free when the roof is completely stowed or removed.
The information above is valid throughout the UK and will ensure that company vehicles are compliant in all areas. However, there are some differing regulations in the different regions.
Scotland has a slightly differing view with regards to company cars. The Scottish Executive has advised that if you use a car, your own or a company car, for business purposes, it will be exempt unless it is a private hire car. This includes situations when the vehicle is used by more than one person.
In England the no-smoking signs are required to have the no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter. In Wales and Northern Ireland the requirement is for a minimum 75mm diameter symbol. Scotland has no size requirement for the no smoking signage.
To ensure compliance in case of travel between the different areas, using signage with a 75mm diameter no-smoking symbol would save any chance of being fined for not displaying the correct signs.
The penalty for not displaying a sign is a fixed-penalty notice of £200 reduced to £150 if paid within 15 days. If the fine is not paid and you are convicted in court the maximum fine is £1000.
Individuals caught breaking the law can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £50 reduced to £30 if paid within 15 days or a maximum fine of £200 on conviction.
Companies have a duty to prevent smoking in vehicles classed as smoke free. The penalty for this is a maximum fine of £2500 on conviction. Compliance requires that reasonable steps are taken by a company to enforce the rules.
Following the advice above should ensure company vehicles are compliant throughout the UK saving both companies and employees from falling foul of the regulations regarding smoking in business vehicles.