HSE International ISSUE 109 - Page 36

HEALTH & WELLBEING: THE ELAS GROUP DRUG & ALCOHOL USE OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE IMPACTING WITHIN These days, we’re all aware of the impact drugs and alcohol can have on the workplace environment and most, if not all, companies will have a strict drugs and alcohol policy in place. Societal use of drugs and alcohol has undergone a dramatic change in recent years in terms of attitude towards drink driving and drug use, as well as the introduction of so-called legal highs, so it’s important to also look at how an employee’s use of substances outside the workplace can have drastic implications within. Danny Clarke, Group Operations Director for the ELAS Group, explains: “Most people know the dangers of drinking and driving and will make alternative arrangements to get home ahead of a big night out. Few, however, consider how long it takes alcohol to leave their system, so there’s a good chance that some people may still be over the legal limit when driving to work in the morning. “People sometimes raise questions about activities that are undertaken outside of work and why they would have an impact on work, so it’s important to look closer at the issue. “We recently came across an example where a company had a warehouse operative whose role included fork lift truck driving. The fork lift is not road registered and he only drove it within the confines of the business premises. The employee was convicted of drug driving and received a 22 month driving ban; this did not directly affect his employment as he did not have to drive a company vehicle in his role. However, when his MD mentioned the driving ban to the company insurer at renewal time, he was told that they could not insure the employee to drive the forklift as his drug use made him an unacceptable risk. The employer was left with no other alternative but to terminate the employee, as he was not legally able to carry out his duties due to lack of insurance. “Statistics show that four drivers a day are being convicted of drug driving offences, so it surprises me that organisations aren’t doing more to ensure that the people who drive for their business are fit to do so. When you consider that roadside drug driving tests only screen for cocaine and cannabis*, it begs the question of how many convictions would there be if people were tested for a wider panel? “It’s also important for employers to look at the contributory factors associated with drink and drug abuse in the workplace and ensure they are managing them effectively. “Workplace testing has been used for decades but we’ve also seen drug and alcohol usage dramatically increase over this time as well. Companies need to remember that while testing can be used to identify those who come to work whilst impaired, it’s just as important to take a proactive approach to the issue; educating employees and minimising the chance of them taking the risk of coming to work whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “Our advice to clients and employees is relatively straightforward - what people get up to outside of work 36 HSE INTERNATIONAL HEALTH & WELLBEING: THE ELAS GROUP DRUG & ALCOHOL USE OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE IMPACTING WITHIN T hese days, we’re all aware of the impact drugs and alcohol can have on the workplace environment and most, if not all, companies will have a strict drugs and alcohol policy in place. Societal use of drugs and alcohol has undergone a dramatic change in recent years in terms of attitude towards drink driving and drug use, as well as the introduction of so-called legal highs, so it’s important to also look at how an employee’s use of substances outside the workplace can have drastic implications within. Danny Clarke, Group Operations Director for the ELAS Group, explains: “Most people know the dangers of drinking and driving and will make alternative arrangements to get home ahead of a big night out. Few, however ۜY\ۙ]Z\˜[X]HZ\\[K\x&\H[H]YH[HX^H[Hݙ\HY[[Z][][ܚ[H[ܛ[˂'[HY][Y\Z\H]Y\[ۜX]X]]Y\]\H[\Z[]YHوܚ[H^H[]B[[\Xۈܚ]8&\[\ܝ[\]B\YK'HX[H[YHXܛ[^[\H\HH\[BYH\Z\H\]]HHH[YYܚYX][ˈHܚY\YY\\Y[BۛHݙH]][Hۙ[\وH\[\[Z\\˂H[\YYH\۝XYوY][[XZ]YH [۝][[\Y\XHYX\™[\[\HY]H]HH\[HZXB͂HSTUSӐS[\K]\[\QY[[ۙYH][˜[H\[H[\\][][[YKH\]^H[[\HH[\YYH]HBܚY\\Y\HXYH[H[[X\XH\˂H[\Y\\Y]\[\]]H]\Z[]HH[\YYK\H\Y[HXH\B]\]Y\YHXو[\[K']\X]\]\H^H\HZ[˜۝XYوY][ٙ[\]\\\YH]ܙ[\][ۜ\[&][[ܙH[\H]H[B]H܈Z\\[\\H]ˈ[[BۜY\]YYHY][\ۛHܙY[܂Z[H[[X\ʋ]YH]Y\[ۈوX[B۝X[ۜ[\HHY[H\H\Y܈HY\[[¸']8&\[[\ܝ[܈[\Y\]B۝X]ܞHXܜ\X]Y][[YX\B[HܚXH[[\H^H\HX[Y[[BYX][K'ܚXH\[\Y[\Y܈XY\]x&]B[Y[Y[[\YH[X]X[H[ܙX\Bݙ\\[YH\[ \[Y\YY[Y[X\][H\[[H\YY[YHHYBܚ[[\Z\Y ]8&\\\[\ܝ[ZHBX]H\XH\YNYX][[\YY\[Z[[Z\[H[Hو[HZ[H\وZ[ܚ[[\H[Y[HوY܈[ '\YXHY[[[\YY\\[]][BZYܝ\ H][H]\]YHوܚ