Smoking in the workplace – fire safety advice for businesses

Fire safety in the workplace is vital for a safe working environment – but how do you maintain a safe working environment when some of your staff are smokers? Although smoking has been banned in public spaces since 2007, many people still like to smoke, especially during a stressful workday. The laws surrounding smoking in the workplace are very clear, but many employers and employees are unsure of all the guidelines surrounding smoking at the workplace.

no smoking sign at workplace

General guidelines and laws about smoking in the workplace

Employees are not allowed to smoke in the workplace at any time. This is not only to reduce the number of cigarettes people smoke per day, but to increase fire safety in the workplace. By having no lit cigarettes in the workplace, you are automatically reducing the fire risk associated with it. 

All public buildings must display ‘No Smoking’ signs clearly throughout the building to ensure everyone is aware of this law. Many employers choose to place these signs around the entrance of their building, as non-smoking employees are often averse to walking through a cloud of smoke on their way to work. 

We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks so you can keep your workplace as protected as you can from fire – keeping you and your staff as safe as possible.

  • Workplaces aren’t required to provide a smoking shelter for employees, but we’d recommend having one so smokers are able to go to a dedicated area that has a place they can properly stub out and dispose of the cigarette stubs. 
  • Having fire extinguishers situated near the closest entrance to the places smokers use gives an extra level of safety in case a lit cigarette accidentally begins a fire. 
  • Have regular fire risk assessments so you’re aware of what you’re doing right and what you can improve on when it comes to fire safety. 
  • Have regular testing of your fire alarms, preferably by a qualified fire safety marshall, so you can be sure your alarms are in working order at all times. 
  • Prepare an emergency plan that all your employees are aware of in case of an emergency, and designate fire wardens who can carry out the organisation and evacuation of staff in the case of a fire. 
  • Install emergency lighting in your workplace in case of a power outage during a fire. Smoke and darkness make it almost impossible for people to navigate a building in the event of a fire, so an emergency lighting system that has its own power supply is essential for keeping your employees safe. 


The team here at Cheshire Fire have been educating the community on fire safety for over 25 years, which includes high-quality fire safety training courses for offices, schools and restaurants. Cheshire Fire’s prices are highly competitive, with free site surveys and call-outs available, and all of our working practices are fully accredited by all relevant associations, including CHAS, NEBOSH and Constructionline. For more information on our services, please get in touch with a member of our team today.