Focus on alcohol and other drugs in Christchurch’s construction industry

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A recent study has shown that 18% of construction workers indicate there are people working hungover or stoned “from time to time or a lot” on site.

WorkSafe New Zealand has been focusing on the issue, and hosted an event on Managing Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) in Christchurch last month.

Around 250 people from the industry, including employers and workers, attended the trade breakfast to hear more about how they can manage the effects of AOD on sites across the Canterbury rebuild.

“We know this is a significant issue for many in the construction sector,” WorkSafe project manager Donna Burt says.

“The impacts of alcohol and drugs in the workplace have significant consequences, including fatalities, serious injuries, impaired productivity, higher turnover, absenteeism and reputation risk,” Ms Burt says.

In April the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter produced a fact sheet on how to manage AOD in the workplace for small-to-medium construction organisations in Canterbury.

“The latest event followed on from the fact sheet. Industry leaders talked through the steps companies can take to put an AOD policy in place.

“Detailed information on pre-employment and random testing, and why this is an issue in the construction industry, was also discussed,” Ms Burt says.

“It provided a great opportunity to learn more about some simple steps companies can put in place to support the prevention of harm in the workplace, with a focus on education, training and, where it’s needed, rehabilitation,” she says.