We work in a very dangerous environment with knives and machinery and want to implement a drug & alcohol policy that would allow for random, with cause and pre-employment testing. Can we do this with Union agreement and without the consent of each employee?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 3 April 2012 Issues covered:

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010 require employers to provide a hazard-free workplace. This would include ensuring that workers are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially in dangerous and safety critical work environments. An employer is obliged to operate a reasonable and proportionate policy which does no more than is necessary to achieve the legitimate aim of ensuring safety in the workplace. In practical terms, this means that random testing or testing where there is a reasonable suspicion of substance abuse could be carried out for safety critical employees. However, it would be difficult to justify the random testing of office based employees

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.