Workplace health and safety tips: the benefits of having a smoke free workplace

AMIA has teamed up with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) to bring you a workplace health and safety tip each edition. This edition we will focus on making your workplace healthier, by providing a smoke-free workplace.

Smoking has been steadily declining nationally for several decades, however, rates of smoking are higher in rural and remote areas and tobacco smoking is still one of the leading risks associated with years of life lost due to mortality and disability.

Recent research shows that workers who smoke have a 38 per cent higher risk of work-related injury than those who never smoked. Smoking can lead to:

  • An increased risk of bone fractures due to the effect of nicotine on the mineral content of bones
  • Muscle pain
  • Disc degeneration
  • Slow healing of tendons
  • Smoking also influences the age related loss of muscle mass and strength.

Providing a smoke-free workplace is one of the best ways to improve the health of your employees and is a key component of a successful workplace health and wellbeing program. A smoke-free workplace also protects your workers from the dangers of passive smoking and can encourage existing smokers to quit or reduce their cigarette use.

There are also plenty of business benefits including:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased injury and illness rates
  • Lower cleaning and maintenance costs
  • Reduced fire risk
  • Healthy, positive image for your workplace.

For employers

Visit the Healthy Workers website and select your state to see what programs are in place to help you help your employees quit smoking.

You can also consider giving employees details for services such as Quitline
(13 78 48 or www.quitnow.gov.au) and consider letting them use it during work hours. The service is available seven days a week for the price of a local phone call.

For more information or assistance in creating a healthy workplace, visit worksafe.qld.gov.au or call 1300 362 128.

For employees

Quitline is a free, confidential telephone helpline (13 78 48 or www.quitnow.gov.au). Professional counsellors provide strategies and support to help people quit smoking, and can give you advice on the use of medication and nicotine replacement therapy.

The service is available seven days a week for the price of a local phone call.

Download the Australian Government’s My QuitBuddy. The free mobile phone app allows you to track your quit smoking progress, and checks in to make sure you are sticking to your quitting goals.