More Belait companies introduce anti-smoking policy

National 2 minutes, 16 seconds


BELAIT companies involved in the oil and gas sector are moving towards a ban on smoking at their premises in a bid to enhance health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) profile as well as boost employee productivity.

Among companies who has taken the initiative include were Mashhor General Contractor Sdn Bhd (MGCSB), with the an anti-smoking policy being implemented last year, and Petrokon Utama Sdn Bhd (Petrokon) which had such policy already in place since three years ago.

“Under the policy, we now pose zero-tolerance for smoking, and employees who smoke are only allowed to do so during their designated break times outside of the company’s premises,” said MGCSB Corporate HSSE Manager Mohd Rizal Dr Hj Abd Latif.

He added that amongst the steps taken include abolishing all of the designated areas for smoking within the company’s premises.

The move, he said, was made considering the health risks involved as well as the time employees waste on smoke breaks.

“Although we have abolished smoking areas, we still have designated areas for employees to rest. If they are caught smoking within these areas, or any other working sites under the company’s (purview), strict disciplinary action will follow.”

Mohd Rizal noted that employees were previously seen taking smoke breaks together, sparking worries over influencing other employees to take up the habit as well.

The anti-smoking policy also took into consideration the dangers imposed by secondhand smoke, exposing non-smokers to health hazards that have been identified by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“Health is one of the most important component of HSSE, and anything that can trigger a threat to this should be immediately addressed,” he said.

“And with smoking, not only it will affect an individual’s fitness and the workers’ productivity, it will also provoke other medical issues, including lung and throat cancer, so we are one step ahead of this to make sure our HSSE is implemented well,” he added.

Sharing the same sentiments, Director and General Manager of Petrokon Md Saney Hj Abd Halim, said the successful implementation of a smoking restriction at the company’s premises three years ago has led to increased productivity.

Since three years ago, he said employees who went out for smoke breaksare required to stay extra hours in the office, -the same amount of time they took for smoke breaks.

Md Saney noted that such anti-smoking policy is not something that is new as there are many companies in Belait that have taken up the initiative with their own set of rules and regulations.

“But Petrokon will always give its support to the government initiative, all the more when this proves beneficial for our company’s productivity in general,” he said.

The Brunei Times