5:37pm Tuesday 20th August 2013
A SURVEY has claimed that a third of Gwent employers wouldn’t know if a worker is under the influence of recreational drugs.
That’s despite more than 80 per cent saying they had written policies in place against drugs, and a similar number saying they are worried that drug taking outside of work could have a negative impact on safety and job performance in the work place.
The survey of 40 Gwent businesses was conducted by researchers RMG for Synergy Health, which provides toxicology services and has labs in Abergavenny.
According to the survey, 32 per cent of firms admitted they don’t have enough knowledge or training to identify if a worker is under the influence of recreational drugs.
However 85 per cent of companies claimed to exercise zero tolerance towards substance abuse among staff.
The figures were released ahead of a conference, organised by Synergy Health, at the University of South Wales next month looking at the problem of drug use in the workplace.
The one-day ‘Drugs at Work’ conference takes place the University of South Wales’ Glyntaff Campus in Pontypridd on September 5.
Martin Tavener, a former detective chief inspector with the Welsh police regional organised crime unit and a speaker at the conference, said: “By claiming a zero tolerance approach, the majority of employers clearly recognise that the effects of drugs and alcohol within the workplace are potentially detrimental to their business, yet far fewer appear to be able or willing to enforce this stance and effectively seem to be turning a blind eye.
“Besides poor attendance and performance, those under the influence of drugs are a danger to other employees or even customers.
“If control measures are not in place, or are not being actively enforced, employers could find themselves vulnerable to prosecution in the event of an incident. Every business has a responsibility to engage with employees and promote a workplace that is safe from those who abuse drugs and alcohol.”
Synergy technical services manager Dr Philip Kindred said: “Policies are only as good as the people enforcing them. If managers don’t have the skills or the will to enforce these policies they might as well not exist and the potential risks to colleagues, customers and company reputation remain.”
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