Drunk employees are dangerous to themselves and others

Drugs, Alcohol & The Workplace

Posted By Stephanie Hancox on 2017-09-15 09:32

The Consequences Of Drug & Alcohol Use in The Workplace

When your personal life has a drastic consequence on your professional life. Would you make the same mistake?....

We have previously touched upon the high importance of alcohol and drug testing in the workplace, however what happens in your personal life can have drastic consequences on your professional life, however with 2016 summer crackdown by the police on motorists, 4,539 motorists tested positive or refused to provide a sample to be tested. How many of these could of been your employees? 

It is of great importance and responsibility to have a thorough understanding on the dangers, effects and consequences that a single employee can bring to your company if failing to conform to your drug and alcohol policy. We have spoken about the dangers and your responsibilities before in the article Drug & Alcohol Screening, Why You Need it For Your Employees. We can offer assistance in writing your policy and outlining a strategy to meet your requirements under law.


Many Employees may argue what they do in their own time shouldn't be monitored by their employees and may class drug and alcohol testing as an invasion on privacy, HOWEVER; Allowing employees to work whilst under the influence does put your reputation on the line but also the health and safety of the individual, your employees and the public and you may be breaking the law.                                                                                 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quick Facts

Across the Uk, less than 10% of the population use drugs however 3/4 's of these users are in full time employment, with a further 200 drug-driving deaths a year in the UK alone. 
  1. 14% of drivers who drive for their jobs consume at least 3 or more units of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. In comparison to only 6% of drivers who don't drive for their jobs who also consume 3+ units before getting behind the wheel.
  2. Drivers who consume cannabis are 2-6 times more likely to be in a road traffic collision (RTC), which rises to 16 times more likely when combined with alcohol. 


But Surely it's common sense to not drive under the influence especially when driving for work?....

Unfortunately this isn't always the case, as shown above 14% of people who drive for work (this can include anyone from taxi drivers to HGV Drivers) consume 3 or more units of alcohol prior to getting behind a wheel. A shocking article was found on Fleet news where we are shown how "an early finish and social ending of the working week was accepted and known practice by the company as a whole....this is how its is in the building trade"

What shocked us more about this article was how the job manager himself encouraged the team to "have a drink and lunch on me" as a "reward for completing the job ahead of schedule, saving the company money and leaving a more than happy regular customer." Although a manager rewarding his team for an excellent job isn't unheard off, this group had a further 80 miles to go, however unbeknown to them 2/3's of the way, they managed to occur charges of £31,820 towards the company and 2 drivers were individually charged £1,020. 

WHY? Along the way, a tyre on one of the vehicles blew out and tipped the roller which it was transporting onto the road. The reaction time for the vehicle behind was too slow to avoid a collision causing the second vehicle to to turn over due to the driver losing control. Unfortunately the front vehicle driver did not notice this until he was further up the road when he finally noticed the other vehicles were not still behind him. 

One of the passengers who decided not to wear a seatbelt sustained almost life-threatening head and chest injuries. The 2 drivers who were involved and responsible for this RTC were both found to be over the legal limit for driving under the influence. 

So what were the official cause of this RTC?                  

An investigation into the cause of this RTC found that a mixture of driving under the influence and excessive speeding for the towing vehicle was responsible! Further investigation found that the company did not have a clear policy in regards to drink driving , along with inadequate training for employees across the board. Management failures in failing to implement necessary policies. 
 It is clear that if the manager of the group had not decided to reward his team before finishing work, this incident may not have happened and the consequence of rewarding his team for saving the company time and money was....  

"The company pleaded Guilty at the first opportunity in the Magistrates Court:

Breach HASWA Section 2:                          Fine of £20,000

Breach HASWA Section 37:                        Fine of £10,000

Vehicle Over leading:                                    Fine of £500

Prosecution Costs:                                      £1,200

Victim Surcharge:                                        £120

Total Fine & Costs:                                      £31,820


Both drivers were dealt with at the Magistrates Court. For the offense of Excess alcohol they were individually sentenced after pleading guilty:

Band C                                                      Fine  £850

Prosecution Costs                                              £85

Victim Surcharge                                                £85

Both drivers were disqualified from driving for 15 months and subsequently lost their jobs.

The driver of the overloaded vehicle was fined an extra £250 for the offense"


   This isn't the first time where a company has been charged significantly and presently won't be the last. For more information in regards to how we can help you protect your company with workplace drug and alcohol screening or further advice please get in touch. Contact details can be found here.        


Source of information ..