Expatica news

Smoking ban on statute books

2 March 2005

BRUSSELS – A smoking ban in the workplace entered the statute books on Wednesday but will not come into force until 1 January 2006.

Until now smokers were expected not to bother non-smokers in the workplace out of courtesy, said Health and Safety Minister Freya Van Den Bossche.

Employers were not under any obligation to impose a smoking ban.

Now, the new laws would enshrine the right to work in a non-smoky environment, she said.

The laws will apply to every part of the workplace under the authority of the employer. This means the office, attic, garage, corridor, canteen, toilets, and any vehicles used by the company.

Smokers will be expected to take their habit outside, with a few notable exceptions.

Employers will be allowed to create a smoking area within the building so that smokers do not feel like pariahs, said Van Den Bossche.

The minister recommended this form of action so that smokers could not be accused of wasting their employers time on smoking breaks.

It would also be safer in places where flammable materials were in use, she said.

The new rules will not apply to the catering sector or public places.

Equally, it will not be enforced in institutions giving out social assistance or in prisons.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news