|Employee Drug Testing
The Safety Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 took effect on 1st September 2005. Section 13 of the Act contains a provision for drugs and alcohol and states that an employee shall while at work:-
Ensure that he or she is not under the influence of an intoxicant (defined as drugs and alcohol) to the extent that he or she is in such a state as to endanger his or her own safety, health or welfare at work or that of any other person.
A report in the November issue of Health and Safety Review has confirmed that legally binding regulations on workplace intoxicants (defined as drugs and alcohol) testing will not be introduced by the Irish Government and that the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will not be issuing any guidance. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) subsequently issued an information sheet on intoxicants. View PDF
Road Traffic Act 2010 – Random Drug and Alcohol Testing
In addition to alcohol testing, all Irish motorists, including those who drive in the course of their work, will be subject to random roadside impairment testing for drugs and alcohol when regulations contained in the Road Traffic Act 2010 come into force.
The Road Traffic Act 2010 was signed into law on 20th July 2010. Contained in the Act is a provision for intoxicant impairment testing. Section 11.—(1) states that A member of the Garda Síochána, for the purposes of forming the opinion that a person in charge of a vehicle in a public place is under the influence of an intoxicant to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, if he or she considers it would assist him or her to form such opinion, may require the person to perform in the presence of the member or another member such impairment tests, in the manner indicated, in accordance with impairment test regulations, by the member or other member in whose presence the test is to be performed.
(3) The Minister may prescribe the form of tests, indicating the manner and type of the tests, for the purposes of subsection (1). The roadside drug testing powers are contained in Road Traffic Act 2010 but cannot be rolled out until the training of Gardai is completed.
Director’s and Manager’s Responsibilities
Directors and Managers have responsibility, under Section 8(1) and Section 80(1) of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, to protect the occupational safety and health of all workers. The 1989 EU Framework Directive on safety and health at work has been implemented in Irish law in the 1989 and 2005 Health & Safety Acts. Under framework directive 89/391/EEC, all employers have a legal obligation to protect the occupational safety and health of workers.
From the 1st of Sept 2005 Employers may prevent an employee from working if he or she would be a danger to themselves or others due to being under the influence of an intoxicant (defined as drugs or alcohol).
Section 13 (1) b
“An employee shall, while at work – ensure that he or she is not under the influence of an intoxicant to the extent that he or she is in such a state as to endanger his or her own safety, health or welfare at work or that of any other person.”
Checklist – Workplace Intoxicants (defined as drugs and alcohol)
Complete the checklist to find out if your company is complying with Section 13(1)b of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 |
In an article in the Spring issue 2011 of Health & Safety Times, Maurice Quinlan outlines what the law requires on workplace intoxicants (defined as drugs and alcohol). Download pdf
Sections 8(1) and 13(1)b of the Safety Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005. Section 8(1) outlines the general duties of employers. Section 13(1) b outlines the general duties of employees on workplace intoxicants (defined as drugs and alcohol).
In the December 2008 issue of Health & Safety Review the Health and Safety Authority outlined its position on Drug testing regulations (PDF).
The December 2008 issue of Health & Safety Review also outlined the Union’s agenda on employee drug testing (PDF)
The EAP Institute has developed Guidelines on developing a comprehensive approach to workplace intoxicants( defined as drugs and alcohol)
The European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS) have issued guidelines on legally defensible workplace drug testing EWDTS Guidelines
In a recent HRD Ireland article Maurice Quinlan outlined what needs to be in place to ensure compliance with Section 13(1) b of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005
In the US, EAPs Think BIG to Identify Risky Drinking
A new initiative developed by Ensuring Solutions, with the assistance of a cohort of employee assistance program (EAP) provider organizations, seeks to standardize the delivery and increase the use of alcohol screening and brief intervention in the workplace;