Industries with Zero Tolerance for Alcohol in NZ
31 August, 2022
All businesses and organisations are responsible for providing a healthy and safe work environment. Measures to keep the workplace safe include managing preventable hazards that harm anyone. One of these hazards is alcohol use. Alcohol impairment is a top risk factor for many workplace accidents. Therefore, it is important for businesses to create a safety program to minimise alcohol-related risks or incidents. In addition, certain industries in New Zealand have higher safety risks than others. In high-risk sectors, there is an increased chance of serious harm from the environment or the type of work carried out. Thus, these companies adopt zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ to prevent the workers from harming themselves and others.
Alcohol use and impairment significantly impact an individual’s health, safety, and work performance. High intoxication levels affect vision, hearing, reaction time, and coordination. Moreover, employees with impaired abilities often have difficulties in reasoning, concentration, decision-making, and movement. As a result, they pose hazards, especially when handling equipment or dangerous goods. Therefore, companies implement zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ for high-risk jobs at all times. Furthermore, businesses may help secure the workplace using reliable alcohol testing devices like a breathalyser. Breathalysers analyse a person’s alcohol content and give results instantly. The workplace devices at Breathalysers New Zealand help many organisations attain improved safety.
Zero Tolerance for Alcohol in NZ Workplaces
Under the Health and Safety Work Act (HSW Act) in New Zealand, employers must secure the workplace by minimising safety-related hazards where practicable. Although it is not mandatory in all sectors, one of the effective strategies that many companies carry out is alcohol testing. For example, private organisations may administer alcohol testing if there have been many alcohol-related incidents. Likewise, the prevalent alcohol use or impairment may induce companies to test for alcohol if it affects workplace performance or productivity. Meanwhile, safety-critical industries have additional health and safety requirements to comply with as state regulation sets. It includes strictly adhering to zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ. According to the Health and Safety at Work Regulations (2016), the high-risk industries are:
- Building construction
- Coal mining
- Construction services
- Fishing, hunting, and trapping
- Food product manufacturing
- Forestry and logging
- Heavy and civil engineering construction
- Waste collection, treatment, and disposal services
- Water supply, sewerage, and drainage services
Implementing Zero Tolerance for Alcohol in NZ through a Workplace Policy
It is common for employees to consume alcohol after work hours. Regular consumers state that alcoholic beverages help them feel relaxed or relieve stress. However, there are many instances where excessive amounts of alcohol lead to severe impairment. As a result, it has detrimental consequences on health and safety. Alcohol impairment may lead to road traffic crashes or accidents. Likewise, intoxicated employees reporting to work the next day also pose significant hazards. Therefore, more employers manage these risks by implementing zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ workplaces. Companies must establish a workplace policy to execute the zero-tolerance approach.
An alcohol policy is a safety program designed to keep the workplace free from alcohol-related risks. A zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ workplaces includes prohibiting alcohol consumption and impairment while on duty. It means that employees are not allowed to have any amount of alcohol in their system. The policy should also state the preventive measures to help avoid workplace incidents. These measures include alcohol testing to determine impaired employees. Many employers use workplace breathalysers like BACtrack from Breathalysers New Zealand to monitor workers’ sobriety. Moreover, a workplace policy is important not just to comply with legislation but to gain the following benefits:
- An overall safe and healthy environment
- Improve work quality and output
- Decrease absenteeism and tardiness
- Lower turnover rates
- Reduced costs (compensation, healthcare, insurance, properties)
- Mitigate legal risks
- Boost employee morale
Zero Tolerance for Alcohol in NZ Workplaces: Alcohol Detection Guide
High-risk industries with zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ conduct regular alcohol testing to maintain an alcohol-free workplace. For example, employees in rail transport and coal mining must pass an alcohol test to be fit for work. Additionally, companies employ various procedures to detect alcohol and other impairing substances. The common methods are breath, urine, saliva, and blood tests. Urine or saliva samples are mainly used for drug testing. The standard method for alcohol testing is a breath test due to its efficiency and accuracy. Employers use a breathalyser to examine the employees’ breath samples and determine their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Within seconds, you will know how much alcohol is in the system. Furthermore, workplaces may implement alcohol testing under the following instances:
- Periodic physical examination
- Post-incident or near miss
- Reasonable suspicion
- Post-treatment or Return-to-duty
Alcohol Breath Tests with Breathalysers New Zealand
Many workplaces with zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ facilitate breath testing to determine the employees’ BAC levels. A breathalyser is a portable electronic device that measures alcohol concentration through the breath. Employees use a workplace breathalyser like the BACtrack because it is reliable, non-invasive, and cost-efficient. To conduct an alcohol breath test, employees provide a breath sample by blowing into the device’s mouthpiece. Workplace breathalysers utilise fuel cell sensor technology to oxidise alcohol in the breath. The fuel cell sensors undergo an electrochemical process when it contacts ethanol. Then, it calculates the BAC based on the electrical charges produced. Since fuel cell sensors are specific to ethanol and do not react with other substances, it is less likely to have false-positive results.
Breathalysers New Zealand offers the following alcohol testers for workplace use: the BACtrack S80 Pro Gen2, BACtrack Mobile Gen2, Alcovisory Mercury, and Alcovisor Alcotorch. The workplace breathalysers feature enlarged fuel cell sensors to get the most accurate BAC readings. In addition, each device has distinct properties suitable for workplaces with zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ. For instance, the S80 Pro Gen2 is ideal for environments with high-volume testing requirements. The breathalyser remains consistent in back-to-back testing without affecting the results. On the other hand, the Mobile Gen2 has smartphone connectivity, thus, ideal for remote monitoring. Meanwhile, the Alcovisor Mercury has a dual-operation mode for breath screening and testing. Lastly, the Alcotorch is convenient for screening alcohol in venues with large crowds.
High-risk industries need to implement zero tolerance for alcohol in NZ because of the inherent occupational hazards. Through a comprehensive policy, employers can manage safety risks and improve productivity. Moreover, using reliable devices like the BACtrack breathalysers is cost-efficient for long-term use. Workplace breathalysers enable organisations to conduct frequent alcohol testing while saving costs. You may choose from the reliable breathalysers from Breathalysers New Zealand to help improve workplace safety. Likewise, Breathalysers New Zealand also offers personal devices for individual use. Most personal breathalysers at Breathalysers New Zealand utilise fuel cell sensor technology, giving highly accurate BAC results. Therefore, employers and employees can avoid the negative impacts of alcohol use.