Steps for Implementing a Scent-Free Policy in the Workplace
(Adapted from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety)
What steps should I take when implementing a scent-free policy in the workplace?
The situation may arise and create the need for a scent-free policy. As with most workplace policies, be sure to consider the following:
- Conduct an assessment or survey of the employees to determine the extent of the problem. Collect opinions and suggestions at the same time to help you develop a policy appropriate to your workplace.
- Designate one key person to oversee the project and its development. If you work at a large company, it may better to create a committee with members representing all groups (employees, unions, management).
- Involve the health and safety committee, and get management commitment from the beginning.
- Set and stick to deadlines for creating a draft policy, a review of the policy, and for implementation.
- Be sure that all employees have been fully informed of the policy and that they know what they have to do before the policy becomes effective.
- Educate the employees. You may choose to include brochures or flyers in payroll envelopes, publish articles in company newsletter, or give presentations. In any case, the goal is to inform all employees of the health concerns related to scents and why the policy is needed.
- Address any concerns the employees raise openly and honestly. Reinforce the idea that this policy is being implemented as a result of medical concerns – not merely because of a dislike for a certain smell.
- Make it clear that the policy applies to everyone (including visitors, patients, etc).
- Search local legislation for any supporting documentation.
- Do not limit the scent free policy to perfumes and colognes. Many cleaning and personal care products also have scents.
- Post a list of "approved" unscented products and where they are available locally.
- Review all MSDSs for the products currently used and for those you are considering using. Make sure that the ingredients are acceptable. Remember that some products which claim to be scent-free may be using additional chemicals to mask smells instead of truly being "unscented".
- Conduct trials in limited areas before purchasing large quantities of a product.
- Post notices that waxing, shampooing, painting, or spraying (etc.) will be conducted one week beforehand so that affected personnel can make arrangements or have their duties modified during that time.
- Put the policy statement notice on all appointment cards, stationery, room booking notices, employment postings, etc.
- Decide on wording for 'Scent Free' signs and where the signs will be posted.
- Let everyone know that the policy will be reviewed and can be changed because of experience or new knowledge.
What is an example of a policy?
Policies should be based on the health concerns of employees - especially those who have sought medical help. Keep the policy short, but specific. The policy must also apply uniformly throughout the company.
|Sample: Scent-Free Policy
Due to the health concerns arising from exposure to scented products, ABC Company Inc. has instituted this policy to provide a scent-free environment for all employees and visitors.
The use of scented products will not be allowed within the building at any time. In addition, all materials used for cleaning will be scent-free (where ever possible).
A list of locally available scent-free products is available from the health and safety office.
Employees will be informed of this policy through signs posted in buildings, the policy manual, promotional materials and will receive orientation and training.
Visitors will be informed of this policy through signs and it will be explained to them by their host.
Any violations of this policy will be handled through standard disciplinary procedures.
This policy is effective on 01/01/01.
What should the 'posted notice' say?
Signs should be posted near the entrances to company building(s). In addition, statements on business cards, letter head or promotional materials may be helpful if you receive a lot of visitors.
Some people who work at ABC Company report sensitivities to various chemical-based or scented products. We ask for everyone's cooperation in our efforts to accommodate their health concerns.
In response to health concerns, ABC Company has developed a Scent-Free Policy. Scented products such as hair spray, perfume, and deodorant can trigger reactions such as respiratory distress and headaches. Staff and visitors are asked to not use these products when reporting to this office.
ABC Company is a Scent-free environment. Please do not use scented products while at work.