New legislation that has come into effect this month will introduce tougher penalties on businesses that breach health and safety regulations. According to Concateno, Europe's leading drug testing company, the new legislation adds a further incentive to businesses considering the introduction of an effective anti-drugs policies and drug testing in the workplace.
The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008, which was announced in last October and came into effect on January 16th 2009, provides courts with increased sentencing powers that could include prison sentences for individuals found responsible for health and safety breaches and increase the maximum fines for offences.
Neil James, head of sales for Concateno's workplace division said: "Alongside the tougher legislation for corporate manslaughter that has been introduced in recent years, the new Act makes it vital for companies to manage down risks in their businesses, and also to demonstrate that they have undertaken due diligence to indentify and prevent causes of accidents."
He added: "Employee drug misuse can be a contributory cause of accidents at work and a company's management could potentially be held responsible if they haven't taken sufficient action. Businesses have the ability and responsibility to proactively address this situation."
To be effective, a company's drug and alcohol policy needs to include deterrents against the inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol - through education; Employee Assistance Programmes that help employee address their drugs problems through appropriate support and treatment; and through testing, whether pre-employment, at random, or following incidents.