What is a Prohibition Sign?

A prohibition sign is a safety sign prohibiting (forbidding) an activity. These signs are usually banning a particular behaviour that is likely to be a risk to health and safety. The signs feature a red circle with a diagonal cross that runs through it at a 45 degree angle, the activity to be prohibited is depicted in black.

The no-smoking prohibition sign and the law

One of the most commonly seen prohibition signs are no smoking signs. These signs help to establish were smoking is prohibited. Since the no smoking ban in England came into play in 2007, (following the Health Act of 2006) these signs have been a legal requirement, for businesses in the UK, to display on the premises.

In accordance with the no smoking ban act, in the UK, smoking is not allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport and at least one legible sign must be displayed within a non-smoking premises. This sign needs to be at least A5 in size and contain both the no smoking symbol and display the text “No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises.”

The idea of this act is to protect peoples health from the damage that smoking can do, which not only increases the smokers risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease but also increase the risk for the people around you who are then passively smoking. By going outside to smoke in an open area the risk to others health by passive smoking is greatly reduced and it is also hoped that it reduces the amount that people smoke because of the inconvenience of having to actually go outside to do so.

Penalties and Fines

For failing to adhere to this law individual workers can be fined up to £200, or up to £50 in Scotland. Businesses that do not enforce the no-smoking law by making sure people do not smoke in enclosed work premises, also face penalties. These are quite hefty fines to try and ensure that businesses do enforce these laws, to protect the health and safety of all people who are on the premises. If a business fails to uphold these laws then they can also be fined up to £2000 for allowing people to smoke on the premises as well as up to £1000 for not displaying the correct signage. In Scotland there is a fixed penalty fine at £200 which can increase up to £2,500 if it is not paid promptly.