Fleet operator scheme urges greater awareness of drug and alcohol impairment risk

Image credit: Alice Salles, CC BY 2.0 license.

Fleet operator accreditation scheme FORS* is urging operators to be extra vigilant when it comes to managing drug and alcohol impairment this summer. In light of the difficult 18 months endured by the sector as a result of the response to COVID-19, it is more important than ever that drivers and fleet managers are able to spot the signs of impairment and address them effectively.

Impairment can be defined as “the deterioration of an individual’s judgement and a decrease in the person’s physical ability”. In the case of drivers, technicians and other staff members involved in the safe operation of a fleet, impairment can put lives at risk.

FORS Associate, OdiliaClark, is hosting an informative webinar on 31st August to look in detail at how operators and drivers can more effectively manage the risk of impairment caused by drugs and alcohol in their business.

The webinar will cover crucial topics such as managing the risk of drug and alcohol impairment, organisational culture surrounding drugs and alcohol impairment, and how to handle the outcomes of testing. Attendees can expect to be left in no doubt that having robust procedures in place is of paramount importance for employee welfare, and indeed for the safety of other road users and members of the public.

Research shows that the challenge facing the UK’s employers relating to drug and alcohol misuse is incredibly serious. Alcohol alone, for instance, accounts for 167,000 missed working days per year, as well as £7.3bn in lost revenues due to low productivity.

When it comes to drugs, a 2019 study revealed that the UK is sadly Europe’s biggest user of cocaine, with approximately 60-70% of substance users in full-time employment. The picture is not complete, though, without looking at legal substances and the fact that the UK Addiction Treatment Cente (UKAT) estimates that 1.5 million people in the UK are dependent on Benzodiazepine through prescribed drugs.

Paul Wilkes, FORS Business Services Manager, said, “Drug and alcohol impairment is an unfortunate challenge that operators of all sizes face. The FORS Standard requires that members have a drug and alcohol procedure in place. That includes actions to take on suspecting driver impairment due to drugs or alcohol, and I would urge operators to look carefully at these procedures to make doubly sure that they are fit for purpose”.

The FORS Associate webinar on managing drug and alcohol impairment will be hosted on 31 August. To register, visit register.gotowebinar.com/register/

* The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a voluntary accreditation scheme open to UK and non-UK fleet operators, and to the organisations that award contracts to those operators.