Employers bear much of the responsibilities for occupational health and safety. Many local and federal legislation in the UK outlines this.
Workers have a right to be protected from workplace hazards. Health and safety officers help companies with health and safety laws. But it's hardly a one-man duty.
Employers also need to test employees to make sure they aren't affected by drugs or alcohol. This makes occupational safety more complicated. Understanding occupational health and safety laws are the first step toward progress.
Occupational health and safety legislation and drug testing legislation
Testing your workers for drugs and alcohol is important for ensuring the safety of their co-workers. However, there's plenty of privacy and logistical concerns that employers need to know before taking this on.
This guide provides some valuable details about drug testing in the UK, including insight into occupational safety regulations. For now, let's take a look at the seven key legislation for occupational health you should know before implementing testing:
Misuse of Drug Act (1971)
The Misuse of Drug Act was passed in 1971 largely to combat possession of illegal drugs and other substances. While it's mostly a list of substances that are illegal in the UK, two articles apply to occupational health.
Section 5 is important because it defines possession of an illegal substance as an offence. Section 8 is important for employers because they can be held liable for an offence if they allow their workers to use or supply illegal substances.
Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
The Health and Safety at Work Act is the main piece of legislation for workplace safety and health in Great Britain. It also has regulations for managing health and safety at work.
Employers under the Health and Safety at Work Act have the duty to ensure the "health, safety, and welfare of your employees" to the best of their abilities.
This means employers have to provide proper safety training, welfare, safe working environments, and instruction to their employees.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations states that employers have the duty of assessing any risks to their workers' own health and safety. Employees are also tasked with taking reasonable care of themselves and their co-workers.
If an employer knowingly allows an employee to work while under the influence in ways that endanger others, they can be held liable under this law.
The Transport and Works Act (1992)
The Transport and Works Act was enacted so that rail, tramway, inland waterway, and harbour projects could proceed under the Ministry of Transport instead of through private bills.
More importantly, it made it an offence for workers to be under the influence while working on railways, tramways, and other transport systems.
Employers or operators can also be held liable in these cases unless they can prove that they took all possible measures to prevent it from happening.
The European Convention on Human Rights looks at the rights and political freedoms of all European residents. They've drafted a document detailing those rights that are separated into 18 different articles.
European Convention on Human Rights
Article 8 is about the right to privacy, stating that all residents are entitled to that right. However, authorities are allowed to interfere in situations where:
- There's an issue concerning national security
- It regards the prevention of a crime
- When protecting health or morals
- When protecting the rights and freedom of others
This means employees can be tested or held accountable for occupational health hazards when it's in the interests of other people's safety.
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007)
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act is a landmark law that holds employers accountable for manslaughter as a result of serious management failures.
It clarifies criminal liabilities for companies whose managerial negligence led to a workplace fatality. The law ensures that corporations and the people that run them pay close attention to their occupational safety protocol to prevent any workplace deaths.
Leveraging occupational health and safety guidelines
Understanding drug testing legislation and occupational health and safety protocol is a daunting task with all the different laws out there. Use this guide to navigate this complex field and ensure proper safety protocol for your workers today. Knowing these laws is the first step towards enforcing proper occupational health and safety protocols. If you want to learn more about the types of drug tests and finer details that managers need to know, check out this guide here.
Is your company looking for reliable workplace drug and alcohol testing in the UK? Looking for resources about occupational health and safety? Contact us and we can get you started today!
Image: By motortion via Adobe Stock
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