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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Email. *****@******.*** 11th Sept 2014 Dear Sir/Madam, I

Resolved Question:

Email. *****@******.***
11th Sept 2014
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am currently employed as an HGV driver and the company employing myself as a policy which is 1 man 1 vehicle. T, this policy therefore allows those individuals that smoke to do so as they are the sole users of that particular vehicle. All these vehicles are used for nights out so they are manned 5-7 days by these individuals.
I have been employed with the company for 18 years, my age is 59 and have never smoked in my life.
However on a few occasions I have been allocated a vehicle which has been used by a constant smoker, and there has been friction with myself and the employers, as to the legality of having to work in such conditions.
The outcomes on these occasions of having to spend 8-10 hours in a closed environment have resulted in me vomiting, soars and rashes on both mouth and eyes. I have brought this to the attention of my employers, and been reassured it won’t happen again (shrugs and you want to earn don’t you, why don’t you open the window)
Yesterday I was again requested to drive a vehicle for the next 2 days, a vehicle which has been the used by a constant smoker for the last 5 years, for between 40-60 hours a week.
I explained I was not prepared to go through my past experiences (as above), and I would rather take 2 days leave. The transport manager came back with if you don’t like the conditions here why don’t you just pack up and leave.
I have now contemplated on his words and I am concerned about my future with the company.
Should I?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you formally raised this issue with the employer, such as through a grievance?

Customer:

No not today, although the last occasion I had to drive a similar vehicle I did miss work for 2 daysdue to illness,I have raised other work related issues under a grievence earlier last year, however these were dismissed by the employer

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
A good starting point is to look at The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related statutory instruments, which impose a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. Smoking in the workplace was outlawed a few years ago and that would also include cabs, because they would be classified as a workplace, especially if they are being used by others. In fact lorry drivers have been fined by the authorities for smoking in their cabs as that breaks the laws on smoking in the workplace:
http://news.sky.com/story/544998/lorry-driver-fined-for-smoking-in-his-cab
You have a few options:
• As mentioned you can raise a grievance first as that is the first step in trying to resolve this
• You can make a complaint to the Health and Safety Executive as this is a breach of health and safety laws
• You could eventually consider resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal, although this should only be a last resort as you will be putting yourself out of a job, but if it comes to it it would be the final step.
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