A1 to breathalyse staff from April

A1 Housing Managing Director Bernard Coleman
A1 Housing Managing Director Bernard Coleman
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STAFF at A1 Housing are to undergo random breath testing following the introduction of a policy designed to fulfil a “duty of care” to employees.

Under the Alcohol and Substance Misuse protocol, all staff will be breathalysed from April.

Throughout March, an amnesty will be held for those who feel they may have an alcohol dependency problem to speak out.

The Arms Length Managing Organisation (ALMO), who manage properties on behalf of Bassetlaw Council, stated this will have no effect on tenants and at no extra cost.

Managing Director Bernard Coleman said the testing will not be used as a way to “catch people out”.

“As a responsible employer we have a duty of care to the health, safety and welfare of all employees at all times.”

“We must also bear in mind the safety and wellbeing of our tenants, especially those who are vulnerable, and anyone else associated with A1 Housing.”

“Alcohol consumption in the UK is on the increase and we feel it is important that we have a policy in place that supports those employees who may experience problems with alcohol consumption or dependency, and protects fellow employees and tenants.”

According to a 2009 survey study by the Office for National Statistics, 38 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women had exceeded the recommended daily levels on any one day in the previous week.

An Occupational Heath Nurse from Orchard Health will perform the tests in “complete confidence”.

No other A1 Housing staff will be present.

Orchard Health are contracted by A1 Housing to perform two clinics per month and any random testing will be carried out during these clinics, which are there to protect the heath, safety and welfare of all employees.

They provide surveillance, hearing tests and vaccinations, among other things.

Mr Coleman added the introduction of such a policy was a common trend nationwide.

“Many national and regional companies have implemented the same policy and we are certainly not trying to catch people out.”

“Should anyone provide a positive sample we have a help and support structure in place through the Occupational Health Service as well as providing access to a number of local support services.”

The ALMO confirmed the new policy has full support of trade unions.