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Drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace comes under microscope

Due to come into effect from the autumn, the new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug and drive vehicle, as it is with drink driving, with the Government having already announced approved recommended drug drive limits for 16 substances.

At the Safety and Health Expo, Mark Burrup, drug and alcohol testing specialist at Dräger, an expert in the manufacture of drug and alcohol testing equipment, will look at the business impact of drug and alcohol misuse at work as well as exploring the costs, financial and otherwise, of this misuse.

Changes to legislation and the evolution of technology in this field will also be touched upon in the "Drug and Alcohol Impairment at Work – Changes in Legislation and Technology" seminar on Thursday 19th June at 11am at the SHP Arena.

Burrup said: ‘The new drug driving laws expected to come into force later this year will have an impact on many businesses across the UK, particularly those whose staff use a vehicle for work-related activities, run a company car fleet or have a pool car. 

‘The law will make drug driving an offence and will allow police officers to perform a saliva-based drug test if they suspect a person’s driving has been influenced by drugs. If convicted, the offence could result in a driving ban, fine or even imprisonment. 

‘This, combined with the dangers of drink-driving, is a cause for concern for businesses and, judging by the number of increased enquiries Dräger is receiving about workplace drug and alcohol testing, the legislation is clearly already focusing the thoughts of employers. 

‘Since a vehicle used for company business is considered to be a place of work, employers must ensure the health and safety of employees even when driving, as well as ensuring others are not put at risk by their employees work related driving activities.’ 

‘Introducing misuse policies can help avoid any misunderstandings regarding an employer’s position on staff drug and alcohol use and, for those organisations where driving or safety critical jobs form a regular part of the work, drug and alcohol workplace testing schemes can be invaluable.’ 

The firm offers devices such as the Dräger Interlock XT, which allows drivers to check their alcohol levels before setting off – and the device will not allow you to start the engine if you are over the set limit. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.