Putting a Scent-Free Policy on Paper--ExamplesFebruary 20, 2013
This is the fourth blog this year in the series about fragrance in the workplace. In the last blog on this topic, I provided some resources of recommended steps an office should take when considering adopting a policy. The steps include collecting information and input from employees, conducting educational outreach to explain the issue and how scent-sensitive people react to chemicals and odors in some scented products. I also recommended that green teams and HR professionals exercise due diligence to maximize understanding and support from staff.
In the examples below, the policies range from requesting employees to refrain from wearing scented products to outright prohibition. But all of them set forth a clear direction. The trend to acknowledge and address scented products and their chemical ingredients’ impact on indoor air quality is a breath of fresh air. Up to now, an enlightened office has been one where complaints or medical conditions have been addressed on a case by case basis. What we are beginning to see is a trend for employers to recognize the potential harm to the health of the workforce generally by uncontrolled and multiple exposure to scented products and to take action to minimize the risk. Chalk one up for indoor air quality!
The City of Portland—employees are requested to refrain from the use of scented products and managers and supervisors are expected to enforce the rule and ensure compliance.
State of Missouri Council on Disabilities—staff and visitors are requested to avoid using scented products. The policy specifically mentions air fresheners and that it includes the use of the least toxic cleaning products.
The Society of Human Resource Management—provides a short template policy for members.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety—offers a sample policy and much more. The site is an excellent roadmap for developing a successful scent-free program.
The Canadian Lung Association—another excellent resource with suggested policy options for a complete prohibition or one that sets certain areas out as scent-free.
The University of Washington—saving the best for last. This site has links to many public agencies, hospitals, and colleges and universities in the US and Canada that have adopted scent-free policies.