Irish employment legislation on intoxicants in the workplace – Complying with Section 13 (b) of the Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (SHWW) Act 2005 came into force in September 2005 and contained two provisions. Section 13(1) b requires employers to remove an employee from their place of work, who report for work under the influence of an intoxicant. Section 13 (1)c contained proposals for employee intoxicant testing which would require regulations before this section could be implemented.
The Irish Government decided that no regulations would be developed. This resulted in a major anomaly in the legislation and resulted in much uncertainty and confusion amongst employers who wished to address workplace intoxicants. Commenting, Maurice Quinlan,
Director of the EAP Institute said that “ten years after the SHWW Act 2005, provided for the introduction of regulations on drug testing no action has been taken by the Irish Government on employee drug testing”.
 In the absence of guidelines this left some employers confused and uncertain on how to deal with employees who report for work under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Mr Quinlan suggested that the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) might adopt the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS) guidelines as the basis for a code of practice for testing which was recommended for employers in the HSA’s Information Sheet on Intoxicants in 2011.