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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Smoking ban 'puts staff at risk'
Smoking (generic)
The smoking ban was introduced across England on 1 July
A pub landlord has said he will allow people to smoke in his bar to avoid risking his bar staff getting attacked if they try to enforce the ban.

Tony Blows, of the Dog Inn at Ewyas Harold, in Herefordshire, said the ban, introduced across England on 1 July, contradicted health and safety laws.

He said the law said staff should not be put in possibly violent situations.

Herefordshire Council said it may review whether Mr Blows was a "fit and proper person" to hold a pub licence.

Mr Blows said that under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to provide a safe place of work for all staff.

'Not an excuse'

He said he believed asking bar staff at the village pub to confront smokers would contradict those guidelines.

Mr Blows said: "When people come in here I tell them that smoking in a public place like this is against the law and they could face a 50 fine or a court appearance.

"However, because of the previous health and safety rulings, we can't enforce it.

"This is not an excuse to just get us out of the smoking ban - anyone who looks on the Health and Safety Executive's website can see the contradiction there in black and white."

But the council's environmental health manager Paul Nicholas said Mr Blows, as an experienced landlord, should be able to deal with confrontational situations.

'Control measures'

He said: "As a fit and proper person to hold a pub licence, the landlord must be expected to deal with all sorts of illegal behaviour such as drug taking, gambling and violence and smoking is no different.

"No doubt he will have carried out a risk assessment and developed suitable control measures for dealing with such situations.

"If he says he cannot stop people smoking on the premises, the matter of whether he is a fit and proper person to hold a licence may need to be considered."

He said the council had received no reports of people smoking in the pub, and added: "We do have to ask ourselves whether Mr Blows is using the media to publicise his own pub."

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