Plan Insurance Blog

Are alcohol and drug abuse destroying the image of the Construction sector?

For an industry that is heavily centred around health and safety, alcohol and drugs abuse appears to continue to plague the construction workforce.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) conducted a survey in 2016 that revealed that 35% of construction workers had noticed colleagues under the influence of drugs or alcohol on site. Further to this, the study found that 59% of employees were worried about the effects that drug and alcohol could have in the workplace.
Other results from the 2016 survey revealed that:

  • 39% admitted the issue of drugs or alcohol could be better dealt with in their workplace
  • 35% have seen their colleagues under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • 25% agreed drugs or alcohol affected them at work through tiredness
  • 23% agreed it affected them through decreased attention during work
  • 19% agreed the effects made them less productive at work.

The Telegraph reported back in September about allegations of “drinking and drug taking” amongst workers being the prime cause of the delayed building of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. It must be noted however that management company of the stadium profusely denied these accusations. Chief Executive of the
Considerate Constructors Scheme, Edward Hardy said:

 “Maintaining a safe working environment is of the utmost importance for any employer; this not only applies to the workforce, but also the surrounding public and anybody else who may be affected. “Spotlight on… drugs and alcohol is an essential read for everyone, as the Scheme’s latest industry survey revealed 59% of respondents agree that drugs and alcohol are issues of concern. It is clear action must be taken across the industry to ensure workforce safety, health and wellbeing on sites and in companies throughout the UK.”

There have been several deterrents being put in place by contractors and suppliers in the industry. In 2018, Barratt Developments began randomly testing its construction workforce for illegal drugs, as fears grew around substance abuse. Scheme-registered contractors have published case studies on their methods to tackle these issues, all of which can be found on the Best Practice Hub.

CCS course

The Considerate Constructors Scheme have launched an online course that sheds light on the problems related to drugs and alcohol abuse, and the help available to address the issue. There is a quiz attached to the online content for readers, with those answering over 70% correctly receiving a course certificate. It has been reported that the course website has received over 2.6 million visits since its inception.

It is imperative that stakeholders in the construction industry continue to join forces to end this issue, to help guarantee the wellbeing of workers and their clients, and ensure that safety standards are sustained at all times. From an insurance perspective, it is also worth noting that claims linked to drugs and alcohol abuse are not covered in most cases.

Read more: CCS alcohol and drug abuse course
Read More: Commercial Insurance