Home > Employee intoxicant testing will not be introduced in Ireland.

[The EAP Institute] , Quinlan, Maurice Employee intoxicant testing will not be introduced in Ireland. (04 Nov 2010)

External website: http://www.eapinstitute.com/

Press Release Issued by - The EAP Institute, Barrack St. Waterford

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 HSA is currently preparing information on intoxicants which it will publish early in 2011.

In the absence of regulations, Maurice Quinlan, Director of the EAP Institute recommends that companies should carry out risk assessment on intoxicants and update their safety statements. Policies and procedures should be developed to manage the situation where and employee reports for or is on duty under the influence of an intoxicant. Any testing for intoxicants should comply with the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS) legally defensible guidelines and should be conducted with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), designed to provide safeguards for those undergoing testing.   

In the light of this development, Maurice Quinlan, Director of EAP Institute stressed that “all Directors and Managers should be aware that if an employee, in contravention of Section 13(1) b of the Act, causes a serious or fatal accident under the influence of an intoxicant and if it is found that directors or managers authorised, consented to or neglected to take action to prevent the offence then, under Section 80(1) of the Act directors and managers may have personal liability”. Quinlan recommends that safety critical companies, and those with safety critical workers, intending to introduce intoxicant testing should ensure that this provision is included, where possible, in contracts of employment and that policies and procedures are agreed with employee representatives.

Guidelines on managing the risk of intoxicants have been issued by the EAP Institute and may be found at http://www.eapinstitute.com/documents/workplaceintoxicants.pdf

The Institute is also conducting a series of national seminars “Managing the Performance, Safety and Health Risks of Employee Drug and Alcohol Use”, details at http://www.eapinstitute.com/seminar.asp

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