Drugs and alcohol could be putting construction workers’ safety at risk and costing businesses billions, according to a report.
A survey carried out by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) showed that of over 1,300 workers involved, 35% had noticed their colleagues under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 19% agreed the affects made them less productive and 65% had never been tested.
The report said: “The need for attention and consideration could not be more of a priority than within the already safety-conscious construction industry.
“It goes without saying that the influence of drugs and alcohol pose huge safety risks for the industry.
“The slightest lapse in attention or focus could cause serious consequences, particularly in a working environment where heavy machinery and vehicles are used.”
Contractors, suppliers and clients in the industry already undertake measures such as zero tolerance policies and random testing. However, this raises the sensitive subject of privacy and legalities.
“It is crucial that testing is carried out legally and correctly for any company which decides to include drugs and alcohol testing within their policy,’ the report added.
“Testing should only be carried out by a professional testing agency or a fully certified and accredited employee.”
Some £12.2bn is spent each year on alcohol-sickness absence costs in the UK while 17m working days a year are lost in England due to alcohol-related sickness.
CCS chief executive Edward Hardy said: “It is clear action must be taken across the industry to ensure workforce safety, health and wellbeing on sites and in companies throughout the UK.”
The report recommends firms draw up drug and alcohol policies, raise awareness, offer support and “integrate some level of testing”.
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