New stance on smokes at mill
THE Isis Central Sugar Mill has launched a tough new policy that heavily restricts when workers can smoke – but it is also helping them to give up the habit through financial incentives and quitting programs.
Since the start of the crush, the mill's policy says employees can only smoke during breaks, and only in designated smoking areas.
But those who want to give up the habit will also receive some compensation for buying nicotine patches, and workers have also been given access to medical programs to help quit.
Mill general manager John Gorringe believes the anti-smoking drive has been a success and has led to positive change.
“Four employees have ceased smoking altogether and a number who undertook the Quit program have reduced their smoking substantially,” he said.
“There have been genuine health benefits for those individuals.”
Mr Gorringe said the mill had implemented the program to bring it into line with other processing facilities.
“I think it's commonplace in processing facilities that there are restrictions on smoking,” he said.
“I felt it was appropriate to introduce it now.
“We facilitate the program, but at the end of the day the individual has to make the choice.”
Peter Whelan is one worker who has already seen the benefits of the program.
“Between a combination of the program and the changes at work, I've probably reduced my daily smoking intake by at least 50%,” he said.
Cancer Council Queensland has taken an active role in the program, facilitating meetings at the mill for the workers with some starting as early as 6am.
Cancer Council regional co-ordinator Simon Jacobs praised the mill for the policy and encouraged other businesses to emulate it.
“Encouraging a supportive and team approach can give staff members a better chance of quitting smoking successfully.”