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24 June 2009

Highways Term Maintenance Association renews call for strict approach on alcohol and drug misuse

22 June 2009, London, UK: The Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) has renewed a call for a blanket ban on alcohol and drug misuse after welcoming action by one of its members to dismiss guilty employees, following random testing.

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9 June 2009

HTMA contribute to industry report on winter maintenance

9 June 2009, London, UK: The Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) have contributed towards a report to parliament on the lessons for winter service by highlighting how they continued to deliver services and coped with the unprecedented demand on salt treatments, during the severe weather at the start of this year.

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24 June 2009

Highways Term Maintenance Association renews call for strict approach on alcohol and drug misuse

22 June 2009, London, UK: The Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) has renewed a call for a blanket ban on alcohol and drug misuse after welcoming action by one of its members to dismiss guilty employees, following random testing.

The HTMA is calling for a consistent strict approach to drive out drug and alcohol misuse after one of its members, BEAR Scotland, came under scrutiny following random testing procedures in March 2008, which resulted in one in four of the tested employees producing positive results.

All of the employees concerned were immediately suspended from any hazardous activities. Disciplinary action was then taken requiring the employees to take a re-test and this resulted in three employees leaving the company.

BEAR Scotland has received messages of support for its policy and Managing Director Bill Taylor has responded to criticism that no action had been taken by saying: “All employees who’ve tested positive in all subsequent tests no longer work for the company.

“BEAR is committed to the health, safety and welfare of our employees and all members of the public affected by any of our activities. The rigorous procedures we have in place including our policy on random drug and alcohol testing are a fundamental part of this commitment.”

The HTMA has produced an Alcohol and Drugs Policy Statement to introduce a common approach to substance misuse amongst its members. It recognises that alcohol and drugs have a detrimental effect on work performance and employee behaviour, and their use must not be condoned within the industry.

Policies included in the statement include the need for:

  • For cause testing
  • Random testing for all relevant people
  • Test failure criteria
  • Sanctions applying after disciplinary action

Test failure criteria includes the presence of illegal drugs, an inappropriate level of alcohol in an individual’s test specimen, the misuse of legal substances such as glue or solvents, and an unreported prescribed or over the counter medication that may affect work performance.

The HTMA is also supporting the use of pre-employment procedures for those wishing to join the industry, such as medical questionnaires, include the use of alcohol and drugs.

Mike Notman, HTMA chair, said: “As an association, we welcome the action taken by BEAR Scotland in this matter. This incident shows that there has to be a consistent approach to drug and alcohol misuse, which the HTMA has been promoting with best practice advice and random testing guidance to help stamp out this very serious and extremely dangerous problem.

“Our aim is to drive forward improvements in all aspects of the industry and we see a blanket ban on drug and alcohol misuse as one of the key elements of safety for workers and members of the public."

“Anyone currently working in, or considering entering, the highways industry should be aware that it is one of the most dangerous occupations in the UK and so they must be prepared for an appropriate duty of care or face the consequences of instant dismissal."

“While the HTMA supports BEAR Scotland and recognises that tough measures on alcohol and drug misuse need to be introduced, we also recognise that the majority of highways workers are responsible individuals and fully support the health and safety policies of their respective companies.”

 

The HTMA members are: Amey, Atkins, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services, BAM Nuttall, BEAR, Carillion, Colas, Enterprise, Fitzpatrick, Halcrow, Hyder, Jacobs, May Gurney, Morrison, Mott MacDonald, Mouchel, Ringway, Scott Wilson, Skanska McNicholas, and WSP.

Issued on behalf of the HTMA Press Office by Andrew Slater. For enquiries from the media, journalists and researchers only, the HTMA Press Office can be contacted on +44 (0) 1782 443080, +44 (0) 7917 638336 or e-mail: htmapressoffice@theprfirm.co.uk

 

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