After a long day at work, many people turn to alcohol to relax and unwind, but doing so could have negative consequences.
According to the Alcohol rehab guide, alcoholism at work is a troublesome indicator of a drinking pattern.
While many employees partake in social drinking and limit their intake, others struggle to regulate their alcohol consumption.
A sober workforce is the most effective risk management tactic a company can take. Employees who abuse alcohol and other intoxicating substances cost their company time and money, while putting their livelihoods at risk.
According to Rhys Evans, MD at ALCO-Safe, employers must provide a safe working environment for all workers, which includes preventing employees from entering the workplace under the influence of intoxicating substances. Employees should accept the workplace policies regarding alcohol and drugs, as well as a duty to confirm that they are abiding by all applicable policies and laws about substance-free programmes.
Evans continued: "While it is up to employers in the transportation industry to decide whether drug testing will be a part of normal alcohol testing at the workplace, as well as how and when this will be done, it is advised that these policies be thoroughly reviewed and brought up to date." Businesses must demonstrate that they are taking all reasonable steps to guarantee that only sober employees are operating vehicles on South Africa's roads, he said.
The Occupational Health & Safety Act takes precedence
Evans contends that before allowing a driver to take the wheel of a truck or other transport vehicle, transport companies should be used to test them. Testing drivers once they have arrived at their destination is also an effective way of ensuring that drivers have not consumed any intoxicating substances during their journey.
He argues that this is crucial, especially for long-distance journeys. It's vital to keep in mind that the workplace does not necessarily have to be a physical location for the driver. Their workplace is their vehicle, and as such, there can be no argument that the National Road Traffic Act allows for a higher permissible alcohol level for public road users.
Testing starts at the depot
Breathalyser testing at the vehicle depot is a helpful weapon in the transport company's toolbox for implementing workplace substance misuse policies, Evans explains. Depending on what the firms are searching for, saliva-based drug tests can be beneficial for detecting a variety of substances that have been consumed within the previous two to three days.
Technology takes testing on the road
In addition, testing technology has improved to provide businesses with more efficient safety precautions on their vehicles, preventing drunk drivers from endangering themselves and other road users. A breathalyser dubbed an InterLock, which integrates with a truck's ignition system, is now widely used by transport companies. Before starting the vehicle or continuing to drive, the driver must blow into the ignition interlock device's (IID) mouthpiece. This ignition interlock device (IID) is a type of electronic monitoring.
The device prohibits the engine from starting if the breath alcohol concentration analysis findings surpass the programmed blood alcohol concentration. After the engine has started, the IID will randomly request another breath sample, known as the rolling test, which is done to prevent someone other than the driver from providing a breath sample.
To regularly and remotely capture, share and track breathalyser test results, trucking businesses can now employ app-controlled breathalyser test management software. This gives fleet managers the ability to make it easier to test drivers from a distance. Self-breathalyser tests can be requested of drivers, making the results immediately available for analysis and sharing. In order to prevent system manipulation, tests are compared with photographic identity, GPS position, date, time, device serial number and test result.
Making IIDs compulsory
The number of accidents and fatalities caused by intoxication could be decreased if the government made it mandatory for such electronic monitoring systems to be put in 18-wheeler trucks and other vehicles used for long-distance hauling. As a result, traffic authorities would no longer be responsible for keeping an eye out for driver intoxication; instead, they would fall under the purview of their employers.
Additional risk-reduction advantages provided by these electronic monitoring tools would cut insurance costs and make roads safer for all vehicle users, said Evans.