Smoking

From 1 March 2006, it is an offence to smoke in most enclosed workplaces, except for some with specific exemptions. The changes come under the Tobacco Act 1987 and will be administered by the Department of Human Services and local councils.The occupier (person in control) of the workplace, may also be liable for breaching the Tobacco Act if smoking occurs.

Find out more about the laws on the Victorian Government’s tobacco reforms website.

Exposure to tobacco smoke in the workplace – health and safety laws

Under section 21 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004, employers have a duty to provide a working environment that, so far as is reasonably practicable, is safe and without risks to health.

To meet this duty, employers are encouraged to take all necessary steps to ensure employees and others are not exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, whether or not the workplace is enclosed.

WorkSafe supports the use of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission’s Guidance Note on Elimination of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the WorkPlace (NOHSC: 3019 (2003)).

If WorkSafe becomes aware of smoking in a workplace, and it is an enclosed workplace under the Tobacco Act, WorkSafe will refer the matter to the Department of Human Services.

If the matter remains unresolved, WorkSafe may investigate and enforce compliance under the OHS Act 2004 when appropriate.