Workplace Policy

Program Outline

1. Principle

People dangerously affected by alcohol and/or other drugs are a safety hazard to themselves and all others present in the workplace.

2. Focus

  • Site safety and involvement of the site safety committee.
  • Raising awareness of the Program through on site awareness sessions, safety committee training, and the presentation of training to construction industry apprentices.
  • Peer intervention and support.
  • The provision of rehabilitation and treatment services when necessary.

3. Objectives

  • To increase the awareness of workers of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, both in the workplace and society.
  • To inform workers of the content of Building Trades Drug and Alcohol Program and how it is implemented.
  • To have the program adopted as site policy.
  • To provide Site Safety Committees with the skills to effectively intervene in the event of unsafe work practices caused by alcohol and/or other drugs.
  • To inform workers of the availability of alcohol, drug and gambling referral/assessment and treatment services, including the services available at Foundation House, the Construction Industry Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Treatment Centre.

Program Policy

  • A person who is dangerously affected by drugs or alcohol will not be allowed to work until that person can work in a safe manner.
  • The decision on a person’s ability to work in a safe manner will be made by the safety committee, or on projects with no safety committee, by a body of at least equal numbers of employee/employer representatives.
  • There will be no payment of lost time to a person unable to work in a safe manner.
  • If this happens 3 times the worker shall be given a written warning and made aware of the availability of treatment/counselling. If the worker refuses help he/she may be dismissed the next time he/she is dangerously affected.
  • For the purposes of disciplinary action a warning shall be effective for a period of 12 months from the date of issue.
  • A worker having problems with alcohol and or other drugs:
    • Won’t be sacked if he/she is willing to get help.
    • Must undertake and continue with recommended treatment to maintain the protection of this program.
    • Will be entitled to sick leave or leave without pay while attending treatment.

Guidelines for Safety Committees

What To Do On Building Sites:

1. Worksite Dicussions

  • All safety committee members should complete the Building Trades Drug and Alcohol Committee Training Course on drug and alcohol safety in the workplace. This can be presented on your site or as a component part of an approved safety training course. It should be co-ordinated with the Building Trades Group Drug & Alcohol Project Officer.
  • Have the Policy endorsed by the workers.
  • The policy should be raised and discussed at every available opportunity eg, mass meetings, safety meetings etc.
  • Make sure ALL workers on site are aware of the policy.
  • Make sure that all Drug and Alcohol Program resources ie posters, stickers etc, are clearly displayed on site.

2. Worksite Alcohol/Drug Problems

If a worker appears to be affected by alcohol or drugs to such a degree that he/she is a safety hazard:

  • The Chairman and at least one other member of the Safety Committee should ask the affected worker to leave the site because the safety of the site and other workers is being put at risk.
  • Avoid using judgmental terms like “You’re too drunk” or “You’re too stoned”; the worker is simply unsafe.
  • Be brief, firm and calm, and don’t be provoked into a debate with the affected worker. Avoid confrontation. Tell the worker you will speak to him/her when he/she returns to work unaffected.
  • Keep your emphasis on the safety factor, and the risks to the worker and his/her workmates.
  • Make suitable arrangements to ensure the worker gets home safely.
    If there is no co-operation from the affected worker.
  • The Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Safety Committee must notify the union delegate and the employer.
  • If further persuasion fails, the area near the affected worker should be declared unsafe and the affected workers union official notified.

The involvement of the site union delegate is essential in this process, as the affected worker will not be paid for any period of disruption absence.

3. After The Incident

When the worker returns to site unaffected by alcohol or drugs, the safety committe should provide information about treatment or counselling if necessary. The may include:

  • Alerting the worker to the availability of treatment through Foundation House, the Construction Industry Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centre.
  • Assistance of local community health drug and alcohol services
  • Inform the worker that agreement to have treatment means accrued sick leave can be used, or an application for sickness benefits can be made.

4. Further Incidents

  • The disciplinary procedure is followed. ie, 1 more verbal and 1 more written warning.
  • The employer should be aware of any intervention that results in lost time. Any action re dismissal/transfer should be closely monitored to ensure adherence to the policy.
  • In the case of dismissal/transfer ensure the worker has treatment and counselling information.