Drugs and alcohol ‘major problem’ on site


Construction Leadership Council (CLC) called to tackle on-site intoxication of plant operators. 

Construction worker.

Drugs and alcohol abuse on site are a “major problem” among plant operators, it has been suggested

The Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) has written a letter to the CLC urging them to implement a scheme to deter plant operators from showing up to sites under the influence. 

The SPOA’s main concerns are: 

  • There is no deterrent for plant operators who turn up unfit, or to remain fit, during working hours. 
  • Workers who fail a drug or alcohol test are sent home driving the vehicles they came in. 
  • Employers can be penalised for their employees failing a drug or alcohol test, but not the employees. 
  • Poor record keeping has led to the re-employment of unfit plant operators. 

The association proposes that plant operators who fail their drug and alcohol test should have their competency cards either temporarily suspended or permanently revoked

Ongoing issue 

Plant workers disclosed in a Considerate Constructors Scheme survey that: 

  • 59% had concerns over the effects of drugs and alcohol in construction. 
  • 35% have noticed their colleagues under the influence. 
  • 25% agreed that drugs and alcohol affected them at work through tiredness.

The SPOA has confirmed with the National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) and the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) that a scheme can be put in place. 

The association believes that the CLC has the power to investigate the  policies around competency cards. 

“We believe that failure to tackle this issue is a ticking time bomb with a serious accident on a construction site simply waiting to happen,” said Callum Mackintosh, president of the SPOA

“The CLC therefore has the power to act and the whole industry is looking to the Council to show leadership on this issue.”

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