Drink and drugs testing on the increase

Almost a third of employers are considering introducing random drink and
drugs testing in a bid to avoid liability for accidents in the workplace that
could be put down to substance abuse.

Despite the human rights implications of introducing tests, 31 per cent of
respondents to a Personnel Today sponsored survey said they were considering
it, especially those in safety-sensitive sectors such as transport and
manufacturing. Currently only one in 10 tests for alcohol or drug use and an
even smaller proportion have tested job applicants.

Up to a quarter of workplace accidents are estimated to be alcohol induced,
and people who abuse drink or drugs are eight times as likely to be absent from
work for more than a week than their colleagues.

Potential challenges to testing could come under article 8 of the European
Convention of Human Rights which guarantees a right to respect for private
life. But this right can be overridden in certain circumstances such as in the
interests of public safety, or the protection of health or the rights and
freedoms of others.

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