POA Circulars

91 | 14.10.2016

SMOKING IN PRISONS

The NEC on behalf of the POA membership has been seeking the release of the “Independent Medical Report” by John Britton Professor of Epidemiology at Nottingham University into the harmful effects of second hand smoke in Prisons. This report was commissioned by NOMS following continued pressure from the POA and was published in March 2015.

Finally, we can announce that the Ministry of Justice has relented and published the Report, which can be accessed via the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-quality-reports

The Government introduced law to ensure smoke free workplaces in July 2007 and despite the concerns of this Union the MOJ and NOMS has continued to deny our members the right to work in a smoke free environment.

The POA has consistently challenged NOMS over the provisions of PSI 9/2007 and the application of the policy, which is not fit for purpose and does not prevent members from suffering or being at risk from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.

This Report justifies the concerns of this Union.

NOMS and their Governors have continued to turn a blind eye to the inherent risks smoking in prisons has on their employees.

The POA has provided members with advice in an attempt to minimize these risks. Risks that the MoJ and NOMS have ignored.

This Report clearly identifies that the smallest amount of harmful second hand smoke carries with it a reasonable probability of injury. It is clear that exposure to second hand smoke is a significant health risk and one that should be taken seriously by the Employer.

Following the publication of this Report, it is essential that POA members follow the previous guidance issued by the NEC in POA Circular 16/2016 & 100/2015 as a minimum.

Local POA committees should now seek urgent meetings with the Management to ensure local policies, safe systems of work, risk assessments and any guidance is amended to reflect this report.

The POA are in the process of seeking further legal advice on this issue and have forwarded the findings of the report to our Legal Representatives.

Further information will be provided in due course.

Please draw the contents of this Circular to your members.

Yours sincerely

 

MIKE ROLFE
National Chair