Let’s face it, it’s that time of the year in the workplace. The time when there are Christmas parties (or end of season parties if your workplace is being overly politically correct!), everyone is feeling a little more jolly and outside the workplace there are more social gatherings to attend.
That’s all well and good, but it’s worth remembering that if your workplace is serious about health and safety, drug and alcohol testing doesn’t go on holidays. So, this time of the year, perhaps more than at any other time, it’s worth remembering as an individual to take extra precautions:
- If you are going to have a big night out drinking, remember that it is more than possible to still be over the blood alcohol limit the next day if you consume enough. There are blood alcohol level calculators that can give you an idea of how long you’ll need before your blood alcohol level will return to zero, but it’s worth considering that these calculators only provide a guide and do not take into account some individual factors. Play it safe and be conservative.
- The same goes with drugs, both illegal and licit drugs that may affect your ability to work. Allow ample time for the drugs to be flushed from your system, so that you won’t fall foul of drug testing or, worse still, be involved in an incident because you’re under the influence.
- It’s also worth having an understanding of your employer’s drug and alcohol policies and their drug and alcohol testing practices. If you’re a white-collar worker, you’re unlikely to face drug and alcohol testing at work, but if you work in a role where safety is important you probably will (e.g. you drive a truck or other vehicles, you fly a plane or drive a train, you work on a ship or down a mine, or work in manufacturing).
Of course, the other thing to remember is that it’s not just drug and alcohol testing you need to be concerned about. There are far more serious consequences that can occur if you drink to excess or take drugs and then go to work:
- Firstly, there’s the potential for you to hurt or kill yourself. You certainly don’t want to be spending the festive season in a hospital bed or your friends and families’ celebrations put on ice while they try to cope with your death.
- Secondly, there’s the potential for you to hurt or kill someone else. How do you think you’d feel if you were responsible for someone being seriously hurt or killed, particularly if drugs or alcohol were involved?
- Lastly, if you did hurt or kill someone else and it was later found that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there may be further repercussions. Employees have a duty of care for their own safety and the safety of others. You may face consequences from your employer – including in some cases loss of your job – and there’s also the potential to face legal action.
Play it safe, be careful and never go to work if there’s a chance that you could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You might be looking forward to holidays soon, but remember that drug and alcohol testing never goes on holidays. Credit Rian Castillo https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitizedchaos/5913306573/