The misuse of drugs and alcohol is serious in the workplace. Possession of some drugs is illegal; other prescribed drugs and over the counter medicines can have side effects which could affect safety. Alcohol too can affect productivity, performance and team morale. Both drugs and alcohol are known to affect concentration and physical coordination which can lead to dangerous behaviour. This is relevant when considering the safety critical nature of specific jobs within the construction industry and the potential for catastrophic events.
Alcohol or drug problems should always be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a reason for immediate dismissal. Employers should encourage employees who show signs of problems to seek help.
There is a general duty under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act to look after the health, safety and welfare of employees. There is a duty to assess health and safety risks to employees under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) sets out specific duties for clients, contractors and workers in relation to health, safety and welfare of those involved in construction projects. The principal contractor manages the work and must prepare, develop and implement a written health and safety plan and site rules; the relevant parts are to be given to contractors. The company drug and alcohol policy would be a document to share under CDM. Contractors should co-operate with principal contractor, consult with the workers and keep to the site rules. Under the Road Traffic Act and the Transport and Works Act, drivers of road vehicles must not exceed certain statutory limits so as to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving, attempting to drive or when they are in charge of a vehicle. For certain rail, tram and other guided-transport system workers must not be unfit through drugs or alcohol while working on the system.The Misuse of Drugs Act states that: it is unlawful to be in possession of a controlled drug, the occupier of a premises is committing an offence if it is known that producing, supplying (or attempting to supply), or the preparation and smoking of controlled drugs is taking place on those premises.
Companies must take action if illegal drug activity is discovered.The Human Rights Act aims to ensure that the rights of the individual as well as that of the community are protected.This means that one individual’s rights may have to be balanced against another’s. Article 8 covers the individual’s right to private life and family. A drug and alcohol policy is justified where public safety is concerned. The Act also makes allowances for interferences where the aim is for the protection of the health of others as determined by other relevant legislation. The Data Protection Act sets out principles of confidentiality and legal ways of processing information. Companies should ensure the principles are applied across the whole area of testing, training and results.
Drug and alcohol screening
We offer chain of custody drug and alcohol screening. Urine samples are sent to an accredited lab for testing for alcohol and drugs of abuse. Negative results take 2 - 3 working days and positive results take up to 7 working days.