Plans to Tackle Workplace Intoxicants (defined as drugs & alcohol)    
13/05/2008 09:06:19
The Director of the EAP Institute, Maurice Quinlan, welcomes the Health and Safety Authority's inclusion of proposals relating to workplace intoxicants (defined as drugs and alcohol) and medical fitness in their 2008 Programme of Work. Since the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 was introduced, the Institute has experienced an increased demand for information and guidance on this complex area of the Act.
Many of the anxieties of employers and employees would be resolved by the publication of clear guidelines on drug testing. Working with many client organisations and looking at international best practice the EAP Institute have developed a definition of safety critical as follows; the employee performs a key role in the operation of plant and machinery where impairment due to intoxicants could cause a catastrophic incident (air, sea, rail, road and construction). The employee is engaged in work activities where the presence of intoxicants could endanger their own or another person's safety (forklift drivers, machinery operators, aircraft maintenance and, accident and emergency).
The EAP Institute recommends that drug and alcohol policies should be agreed between employers and staff. Risk assessments should then be carried out in every workplace and those category of workers in safety critical industries and high risk work activities should be identified. Control measures should specify how those risks will be managed. Employers should then put in place reasonable supports for any employee with poor work performance which may indicate a behavioural problem. Such employees should be referred for assessment, referral and where indicated treatment for alcoholism.
A seminar 'Managing the Performance, "Drugs and Alcohol at Work - Complying with the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005"will take place in the Viking Ramada Hotel Waterford on Thursday 22nd January 2009, The Courtyard by Marriot Hotel, Galway on Thursday 19th February 2009 and the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport on Thursday 12th March 2009. Booking online at
EAP Institute, 143 Barrack Street, Waterford, Ireland
Tel: 353 51 855733 Fax 353 51 879626 Co. Reg. No. 120799