alcohol in the workplace

There is no universal limit for alcohol levels in the landscape industry, which means being under the UK drink drive limit alone may not always be sufficient    

Whilst The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees in relation to alcohol at work, there is no legislation in the UK which requires a company to implement alcohol policies in the workplace.  Furthermore, the management of any company can set its own alcohol limit, which may be enforceable according to site or job role.  

Many employers and site managers have adopted a zero-tolerance approach (i.e. zero alcohol in the system of an individual) to alcohol. This means that, in the event of a test for alcohol, being under the drink drive limit alone may not be acceptable.  

Alcohol limits may be detailed during a site or company induction, but operatives are advised to seek clarification if in doubt.  Operatives on construction sites may be subject to random drugs and alcohol tests. 

The reason for a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol is that, even at blood alcohol concentrations lower than the legal driving limit, research has shown alcohol can reduce physical co-ordination and reaction speeds.  On a construction site there is a risk of injury to operatives and third parties if these abilities are impaired.

For more information on managing drug and alcohol misuse at work, visit the HSE website