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Serving alcohol at company sponsored events may increase employer liability
23 January 2013
Employers who serve alcohol at company sponsored events need to be aware that if an employee is over the limit for alcohol at a roadside Garda (Police) checkpoint, company directors and managers may have personal liability, according to the EAP Institute...
This was stated by Maurice Quinlan, Director of the EAP Institute when he announced the Autumn/Spring series of seminars on drugs and alcohol at work, which will take place in Limerick on 6th October 2011, Dublin on 17th November 2011 and Cork on 1st March 2012.
Continuing, he stated "On the June bank holiday weekend of this year the requirement for motorists involved in a serious road accident to undergo mandatory drink driving tests came into force. Those who drive to work or in the course of their employment are now liable for alcohol tests following a serious road accident. In addition roadside testing for suspected drug drivers is due to commence in September 2011. Provisions for roadside drug testing are included in The Road Traffic Act 2010 and will have implications for all who drive to or from work in the course of their employment
Quinlan also advised that any employee who tests positive for intoxicants as a result of a random roadside test which are expected to come into force on 1st of September 2011, will automatically render themselves unfit and should not report for work. Section 13(1)b of the SHWW Act 2005 prohibits any employee from reporting for or being on duty under the influence of an intoxicant (defined as drugs and alcohol) to the extent that they endanger themselves or others.
Companies are required to carry out risk assessments on all safety critical tasks within their companies and include the risks associated with the operation of dangerous plant or machinery by an employee under the influence of an intoxicant. Those who drive in the course of their employment should be classed as safety critical. Control measures detailing how those risks are managed should be specified in the company safety statement. Policies and procedures should also be developed and managers trained to manage the situation where an employee reports for, or is on duty, under the influence of an intoxicant.
Any workplace testing for intoxicants conducted as part of the company policy should comply with the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS) legally defensible guidelines and conducted with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), designed to provide safeguards for those undergoing testing.
Details at www.eapinstitute.com/documents/druguse2011.pdf