Smoke-free Environment Policy

Document Number000329
Date Approved25 September 2001
Date Last Amended12 March 2013
 

1.      Introduction / Purpose

The objective of this policy is to ensure a healthy environment at the University of Newcastle by eliminating exposure to smoke or passive smoke on University occupied premises.  The University has an obligation to comply with the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the New South Wales Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 in achieving this objective.

2.      Policy Scope

The University’s Smoke-free Environment Policy applies to all University buildings and vehicles. This includes:

  • All offices irrespective of the wishes of the occupant(s);
  • Halls of Residence;
  • Buildings that are owned or operated by another organisation which University of Newcastle organisational units occupy, in the absence of such a policy set by that owner, or where the University of Newcastle policy is more stringent;
  • Buildings that are owned by the University and occupied by other organisations.

3.      Relevant Definitions

The University is considered to be the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) as defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Senior management means the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Heads of Schools and other Academic Leaders, Directors, Associate Directors and Managers as defined in the University of Newcastle Health and Safety Responsibility Matrix, with duties as Officers as defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011;

Supervisor means staff members with direct supervisory responsibility for other staff within the workplace (a Supervisor may also be a member of Senior Management, with duties as an Officer as defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011)

Workers are defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 as including employees, students, contractors, sub contractors and their employees. Worker groups such as staff, students, and contractors may be referred to as workers within this policy, or separately as staff, students, or contractors.

The Smoke‑free Environment Act 2000 is an Act to regulate smoking in enclosed public places.  The Act defines the following:

Term

Definition

Enclosed

Area with a ceiling or roof and, except for doors and passageways, is completely or substantially enclosed, whether permanently or temporarily.

Public place

Place or vehicle that the public, or a section of the public, is entitled to use or that is open to, or is being used by, the public or a section of the public.

Smoke

Smoke, hold or otherwise have control over, an ignited smoking product (engaging in the act of smoking).

Smoke-free area

Enclosed public place or other non-enclosed area legislated as Smoke-free.

Smoking product

Any tobacco or other product that is intended to be smoked.

Vehicle

Train, bus, tram, aeroplane, taxi or hire car, or ferry or other vessel.

Occupier

Person having the management or control, or otherwise being in charge, of those premises or part thereof.

Adjacent to building

Within four metres of any pedestrian entrance or exit from a public building.

 

4.      Policy Statement

4.1      Principles

The University of Newcastle and its Senior Management are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all workers, students, visitors and others within the University working environment.

The University has adopted the following principles:

  • All staff members, students and visitors are entitled to a smoke-free workplace;
  • Smoking is prohibited, at all times and without exception, within all University buildings and vehicles;
  • The prohibition of smoking on premises specifically includes all offices irrespective of the number of occupants or the wishes of the occupant(s).

4.2      Smoke-free Workplace

Smoking in any outdoor area of the University, including all locations leased or controlled by the University, is subject to the following restrictions:

  • it must not be within 4 metres of the pedestrian entrances or exits of buildings;
  • it must not be within 4 metres of any windows or intakes for air-conditioning plant;
  • it must not be on any balconies which are part of a University building;
  • it must not be on any structures that form part of a building or connect buildings;
  • it must not be in the physical proximity of the building which may require people using the entrance or exit to pass through the tobacco smoke emission, or may result in the tobacco smoke entering the building through doors, windows, or ventilation systems;
  • it must not be in or around (that is, within 4 metres of) an “outdoor public place – smoke free area” as defined in the Tobacco Legislation Amendment Act 2012 No 56, which includes public transport stops and stations, and spectator areas of sports grounds;
  • other specific areas adjacent to buildings where smoking is prohibited may be identified and determined by the Faculty/Division responsible for the area;
  • tobacco smoking is not permitted within 4 metres of any outdoor area where there are combustibles or flammable liquids stored, or any other fire hazard exists including natural hazards such as bushland;
  • smoking by-products such as cigarettes, butts and matches are not to be discarded as    litter in any area on the campus. 

4.3      Policy Enforcement

Particular attention will be given to ensure that:

  • All staff members and students are fully aware of the policy;
  • All staff members, students and visitors adhere to the policy;
  • Senior management is aware of the responsibility to ensure the policy is enforced;
  • Complaints with regard to alleged breaches of the policy are dealt with in an expeditious and effective manner;
  • It is, in the first instance, the responsibility of supervisors to seek to resolve any breaches of the policy by staff;
  • In the case of students and visitors (including contractors), it is the responsibility of the University staff member responsible for supervising the visitor or student to seek to resolve any breaches of the policy. In the absence of a supervisor, any University staff member who has concerns about a breach of the policy is entitled to approach the person breaching the policy, remind them of the policy, and request that they comply with the policy;
  • Any breach of the smoking policy shall be considered to be a disciplinary matter that shall be resolved through the normal disciplinary procedures as set out in the relevant award or Enterprise Agreement for staff members or Student Misconduct procedures for students; and
  • Any breach of the smoking policy by visitors, including contractors working on University property, shall be considered to be a disciplinary matter that shall be resolved through the University staff member responsible for supervising the visitor or engaging the contractor.

In enforcing the policy it is recognised that there are particular sensitivities reflecting a wide range of individual attitudes towards smoking. While recognising the need for sensitivity with regard to the enforcement of a smoke-free workplace policy, the University is obligated by law to protect staff, students, visitors (including contractors) and others from the hazards associated with involuntary passive smoking.

4.4      Non-Compliance with the policy

Staff who are concerned about non-compliance with the policy should approach their supervisor in the first instance. If this does not result in resolution of the problem staff may contact Human Resource Services, who can advise the relevant supervisor of the requirements of the policy.  Students, visitors (including contractors) and others should approach any staff member of the University and request the assistance of a University supervisor. 

4.5      Smoking Cessation Programs

The University will support smoking cessation courses for any substantive member of staff or student and provide information on courses available outside working and study hours.  The University Health Service can provide advice regarding medical assistance for quitting smoking.

5.      Responsibility

5.1      Employees

Each staff member, on accepting an offer of employment, is subject to the rules and regulations of the University of Newcastle.  The University therefore has an expectation that staff members will comply with this policy.

5.2      Supervisors

The University has an expectation of its supervisors that they will ensure:

  1. Staff members are aware of this policy;
  2. Staff members comply with this policy; and
  3. Appropriate action is taken if non-compliance with the policy occurs.

The University of Newcastle has a primary duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, the health and safety of staff, students, visitors and others while they are at the University.  Supervisors therefore, have the authority under this Act to promote compliance with this policy within their workplace.

5.3      Students

Each student, as part of the enrolment procedure, agrees to comply with the Rules and Regulations of the University of Newcastle. The University therefore has an expectation that students will comply with this policy.

5.4      Visitors

The rights of the visitor to enter and remain on University premises or in University vehicles is qualified by the obligation to abide by relevant University rules and policies and lawful directions of authorised University officials. The University therefore has an expectation that visitors (including contractors) will comply with this policy.

5.5      Health and Safety Team

The Health and Safety Team will monitor the effectiveness of this policy and support the implementation.

6.      Legislative Context

The University has certain obligations and responsibilities to its staff, students, visitors and others on its premises under State law, in particular, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, associated Regulations and Codes of Practice, and the Smoke‑free Environment Act 2000.

External inspectors appointed by the Director-General have the authority under the Smoke-free Environment Act to enter the University and prosecute individuals and occupiers who breach the Act.

7.      Related Documents

Link to Workcover website for Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Regulations: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/lawpolicy/acts-and-regulations/work-health-and-safety-legislation/Pages/default.aspx

Link to Smoke Free Environment Act 2000: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/sea2000247/

Link to NSW Government Health webpage with Smoke-free information, fact sheets, and other resources: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Pages/smokefree-areas-faq.aspx

Link to NSW Government Health webpage with quit smoking information and other resources: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/quitting_smoking/Pages/default.aspx

Code of Conduct for Residents Policy 000060 

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved25 September 2001
Date Last Amended12 March 2013
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
Policy OwnerDirector, Human Resource Services
Policy ContactAssociate Director, Health, Safety & Environment
Amendment History

Amendments to this policy ensure alignment with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the NSW Smoke-free Environment Act 2000. Approved Vice-Chancellor 12 March 2013.

Minor amendment to update OHS Act to Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Governance and Policy, 29 May 2012.

Added date approved from Council resolution C01:212 noting that the Vice-Chancellor approved the Smoke-Free Environment Policy on 25 September 2001. Added by G&P 8 May 2012.