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CPA's green light to site breath tests

PLANT - Zero tolerance to drink and drugs

THE Construction Plant-hire Association is to recommend a zero tolerance drugs and alcohol policy during working hours.

The CPA's reference document, which hirers can write into their employment policies, follows increasing demands from contractors and clients to meet on-site drug and alcohol policies.

Chief executive Colin Wood said: 'It is a sensitive area for hire companies as it overlaps between disciplinary and health issues, but sites are increasingly issuing their own rules and there are more and more requests for screening.' The policy that the CPA is set to adopt takes a tougher line than some, Mr Wood said, because many hirers are using machinery that could be deemed to be dangerous if used inappropriately.

He said: 'A number of sites have blanket bans on alcohol It is reasonable to recommend that no alcohol should be consumed during working hours, both on the depot and on site.' The policy covers not only alcohol and recreational drugs, but also prescription medication.

Among the recommendations are that all alcohol should have cleared the system by the time a worker comes to work and that workers 'must not consume alcohol or any drugs which may affect your performance or concentration whilst at work'.

It also recommends random testing of 10 per cent of all staff annually and that where there is a positive test of more than 13 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath (UK driver limits are 35 micrograms/100 ml) that disciplinary action will follow.

He added 'We are trying to ensure that our members are prepared for the prospect of being screened when they are on site.'