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March 2000

Delphi Question: Smoking at FL

Question #440 (received 15 September 1999):

We wish to bring up an issue that has been bothering us here at Foothills Lab for some while. That is the issue of people smoking outside of the buildings, but in close proximity to the doors. The east entrance to FL3 and the west entrance to FL1 both have little alcove spaces recessed into the building, presumably to protect the entrances from weather. Cigarette ash receptacles--and in the case of the east entrance to FL3, a bench--are placed right in these alcoves.

We frequently use these building entrances during the course of the day, and when smokers are present, one has to walk through the smoke--a very unpleasant experience. During winter it is even worse, as the smokers huddle in the protection of the alcoves. I actually hold my breath as I walk through the smoke. This also generates an unspoken resentment in us against these people, people we have to otherwise work with in the organization. The smoke also gets in our clothes somewhat, although we don't linger there. The ash receptacles stink, and when the wind blows, the butts get spread around the sidewalk--not a pretty sight.

We are enclosing a resolution of the Weld County Board of County Commissioners, dated 2 June 1999, which addresses this very problem by prohibiting smoking within 50 feet of any building entrance. We can't say if this is the solution for UCAR, but we strongly urge that something be done about this situation.

Answer (12 October):

Others have raised similar concerns regarding smokers congregating at the entrances to FL1 and FL3. To address these concerns, Steve Sadler, director of Safety and Site Services, and John Pereira, director of Physical Plant, met with the members of the Foothills Campus Coordinating Committee (FCCC) to discuss possible solutions. It was agreed that all smoking should take place at least 10 feet away from building entrances. We are in the process of obtaining signs to post at the building entrances requesting that smokers stay this distance from the entrance. We will also move the ash receptacles.

We will evaluate how effective this step is at the next meeting of the FCCC and take further steps if needed.

--Katy Schmoll, vice-president for Finance and Administration

Follow-up question, received 20 October:

I don't believe a smoking prohibition of only 10 feet from the entrances will be sufficient. I measured 10 feet from the east door to FL3 and that is where the existing ash receptacle is now. The north wall extends about another 4 or 5 feet, giving wind protection to that area. If smokers stand between 10 and 13 feet from the door, their smoke will still permeate the entrance area, and there is no way for people walking between buildings to avoid it. There are also alcoves at the west doors to FL1.

Other entrances are more open, possibly allowing better smoke dissipation. Perhaps individual entrances should have different distance limits, or if that is too complicated, then raise the limit to 20 feet, or at least 15 feet.

I appreciate the committee's dilemma, but for all of the reasons in our first letter, I urge an extension of the proposed distance limits.

Answer (2 November):

I appreciate your comments and, after looking at the entrances, I have to agree that 10 feet is not a sufficient distance. We will discuss with the FCCC whether a distance of 20 or 25 feet may be more appropriate.

--Katy Schmoll

Additional information (received 31 January):

[Based on the decision of the FCCC, we] will order signs to be posted on all FL doors asking smokers to remain 20 feet from the entrances. While we wait for the sign delivery, temporary signs will be posted.

--John Pereira, Physical Plant director

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the coordinator, Janet Evans (ext. 1114, ML room 517). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential; they must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2. Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to Staff Notes Monthly by Janet. They may be edited for publication. For more information, including links to questions and answers published in Staff Notes Monthly and a log of all questions submitted since 1995, see the Delphi Service Web page.


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