The modern world has taken an adverse reaction to smokers. Nobody wants to breathe bad air and toxins from second hand smoke. As a result, about 90% of all U.S. employees work in an area with smoking policies. Construction has a huge margin of smokers on its books at almost 35% compared to office employees of 15%. What if construction workers were to switch to vaping on the job site instead of smoking?
Just like most companies, construction companies often come with some sort of measure smoking on site. The question boils down to whether vaping and smoking fall into the same category, which they currently do. Some forward-thinking companies have changed specific uses of vapes and allow people to vape while on the job site. This contrasts to most construction workers smoking off site, either before or after work or on breaks.
There are pros and cons to weighing out whether vaping should be allowed on site or not. Unfortunately, long term data simply does not exist for vaping, so as of now, this article will look objectively at vaping is marginally less unhealthy than regular smoking. This limits the discussion points to focus on time management, social aspects, fairness, and company policy.
Time management consists of how often construction crews take breaks to go smoke, lunch etc. This point belongs to vaping. Vaping on site would allow the construction workers to get their nicotine fix and keep on chugging without having to leave site. This positive point only gets bigger as the job sites get bigger. The con here is that, if a worker takes a break on site, then they run more health and safety risks.
Breaks on site can also bring out social aspects. If your crew takes a break together, then they are used to having a smoke while talking. If this is done on site, then others may be drawn into the discussion and you will see production loss. On the other hand, If breaks are not taken to vape, but used as a once off when the workers want, it could improve social standings, as nonsmokers and smokers would be more likely to intermingle.
This brings up the point of fairness. As stated, most people who do not smoke do not want to be around smokers. This means that they may avoid smoking areas. Providing a contingency that workers can vape on site but not smoke on site may cause tension. You also get into potential gray areas and moving lines that can raise question to company policy.
As of now, most companies have a no smoking on site policy. While vaping is not as caustic to others as smoking, there are a lot of factors to look at. Between time management and social aspects, there are great points for letting workers vape on site. Is it worth changing policy due to fairness though? This is the question that should arise when determining your own policy. In the end, until there is more evidence one way or another, maybe vaping should stay off site.