Smoking Area Guidelines

OSHA has created smoking area guidelines.
••• sign. no smoking image by L. Shat from

Just as businesses must keep non-smoking employees safe from second-hand smoke, they also must provide designated smoking areas for smoking employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidelines for these areas.

Covered Canopies

Designated smoking areas must be covered with a canopy to protect employees from the elements. However, the smoking area cannot be enclosed by walls on all sides.

Waste Bins/ Ash Trays

All designated smoking areas must be equipped with waste bins for smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts. These waste bins can contain ash trays for distinguishing the cigarette, but the butt should be disposed of in a covered container.

Distance from Building Entrance

Designated smoking areas are always outdoors, because OSHA has banned smoking inside of workplaces. Each smoking area must be a certain distance from the building entrance, depending on the architecture and layout of the building complex.

Distance from Air Ducts

In addition, smoking areas must be located a safe distance away from building air ducts, to ensure that smoke is not drawn into the building affecting non-smoking employees inside.


All designated smoking areas must display OSHA-approved signs denoting it as an OSHA-approved smoking area.

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