More consistency needed in approach to work drugs & alcohol
More consistency needed in approach to drugs and alcohol at work
1 November 2013
Testing for drug and alcohol impairment is common within large New Zealand companies, a survey of Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum members indicates.
Close to 90% of those surveyed test for alcohol, most commonly after an incident or where there is reasonable cause to believe someone is impaired, Forum Executive Director Julian Hughes says.
“96% test for drugs, most commonly after an incident or if there is reasonable cause.”
But while the vast majority of businesses have policies in place to deal with drugs and alcohol at work, there is a lack of consistency around who, when, where and how often to test, Mr Hughes says.
“There is a lack of guidance to support companies looking to implement best practice. This is a problem because it could mean some companies aren’t effectively managing the risks.”
Different practices also create an expensive headache for contracting companies that work on multiple sites, he says. “Complying with different requirements from different customers is costly and time-consuming.”
Better guidance on best practice is needed, he says. “Business, government and unions need to work together to help achieve this.”
The survey was completed by 98 Forum members, who are all large New Zealand employers. It found that:
• 98% of respondents
have a drug and alcohol policy
• 7% ban alcohol outright; 75% allow it at Friday night drinks or special events
• Just over 60% use random testing for drugs and alcohol
• Most businesses got staff involved in developing their drug and alcohol policy
• 58% had a non-negative alcohol test result last year.
Read the survey results at: http://www.zeroharm.org.nz/our-work/drugs-and-alcohol/