By RAM Tracking on 10 Jan 2013
Due to a rise in drink drive convictions the morning after, and misuse of drugs, companies are now taking measures to protect themselves against any liability or insurance costs.
Statistics say that 17% of drink driving prosecutions are the morning after and are on the rise, currently the British limit is 80 milligrams, Scotland have now gone to consultation to lower the limit to 50 milligrams, which falls in line with the majority of Europe. The knock on effect will be a rise on drink driving convictions the morning after, 40% of people are estimated to have driven the morning after unaware they are still over the drink drive limit.
Recent headlines for France report that all vehicles in France and entering France will now have to carry 2 disposable breathalysers with the French NF certification, due to these headlines England has already started talking about lowering the limit to 50 milligrams.
Current employer law for professional drivers is zero tolerance which actually means 20 Milligrams Alcohol are allowed – 0.02% BAC. Companies are already adding alcohol and drug testing polices to protect them self’s against any liability.
Sick days may rise due to the alcohol testing policies but to combat this, available on the market now are police grade disposable breathalyser’s for employees to encourage self testing before work.
It is an offence for employees to carry out, and for employers to allow employees to carry out safety critical work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Transport & Works at 1992 Section 27).The employer has a defence to prosecution if they can show "due diligence" to prevent an employee committing an offence (Transport & Works Act 1992 section 28). HSE guidance indicates that "due diligence" can be satisfied by a robust alcohol and drugs policy including education and training, support for those seeking rehabilitation and most importantly screening procedures in place for all employees.
If the employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of alcohol or drugs to continue working and the employees behaviour places themselves or other employees at risk, then the employer can be prosecuted.
It is therefore suggested that all employers establish a robust Alcohol and Drugs policy which is accepted by employees and allows for alcohol and drug testing.
• Legally protects a company from being prosecuted for employee misuse of drugs and Alcohol.
• This policy is a positive benefit when preparing a tender
• Supports Health and Safety legislation
• Aids risk assessments an can help reduce insurance costs and protects insurance claims.