A new survey has revealed the plant and constructions industry’s drinking habits – with shocking results.
Over half (54%) of the people in the Construction and Plant industry who took part in the survey said that they have consumed alcohol the night before operating machinery, while over a third (36%) admit to have knowingly driven over the limit. Over a third (38%) in the industry go for a drink after work and worryingly, 27% drive home afterwards. 46% of people admitted to finding the units measure confusing, whilst 70% believe there are techniques to sober up more quickly . Myths included drinking coffee or water, eating a fry up, getting some air and having a cold shower – even hair of the dog!
Drinking alcohol heavily the night before can mean alcohol is still in the blood stream the next day, depending on the amount consumed. Work in any industry can be dangerous, but in a more hands on environment it is even more important to be sensible. Alcohol slows reaction times and affects vision and balance, so any activities that require physical coordination or quick response can be risky.
Employees who misuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to take time off, display poor performance and increase the risk of accidents. These factors weaken a company’s overall performance.
Do you know your legal responsibilities as an Employer?
As an Employer you can be acting illegally if you knowingly allow alcohol or drug related activities to go on at work but do not act. Below are the legal implications of not taking action.
It is illegal if:
- An employee under the influence of excess alcohol is knowingly allowed to work (Health and Safety at Work Act)
- Controlled substances are supplied or used on an employers premises (The misuse of Drugs Act)
- Drivers of road vehicles and transport system workers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while working (The Road Vehicle (Construction and Use Regulations))
What can you do as an employer?
Employers can introduce an Alcohol and Drugs Policy. The policy should cover all areas of the working day, including those which may be viewed as non-work time, for example, lunch breaks. The policy should contain exactly what is and isn’t acceptable from employees in relation to consuming alcohol and the potential consequences it the policy is breached. You should get signed and dated evidence from your employees that the policy has been received, read and understood. This will be important when relying on the details set out in the policy in the future.
No policy, then there is no clarity of expectations of employees and their conduct.