SPOA calls for action on drug and alcohol abuse in construction

By Lewis Tyler18 April 2023

Callum Mackintosh, president of the Scottish Plant Owners Association Callum Mackintosh, president of the Scottish Plant Owners Association. (Photo: SPOA)

The Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) has called on the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to tackle drug and alcohol abuse among plant operators in the construction industry.

Describing it as a “major problem”, the Association has written to the CLC to raise several concerns it has on the issue, with its president Callum Mackintosh claiming the Council “does not regard the widespread and very serious issue of drug and alcohol abuse in the construction industry as a priority.”

Mackintosh said, “The CLC has failed to produce a policy on the issue which I would regard as the bare minimum. There is currently no deterrent to prevent plant operators from turning up for work whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

According to the SPOA, more must be done to improve “poor” record keeping of incidents, which it says allows dismissed employees to easily find employment elsewhere, while it has also called for operators as well as employers to be punished if a test is failed.

“The SPOA believes that there should be scope to remove competence cards if a plant operator fails a drug or alcohol test”, said Mackintosh.

“The industry should approach this in the same way as the consequences of any driver who drives whilst under the influence. We believe that failure to tackle this issue is a ticking timebomb with a serious accident on a construction site simply waiting to happen.”

Highlighting a 2018 report published by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which found that 59% of respondents had concerns over the effects of drugs and alcohol in construction, Mackintosh said the issue “cannot be allowed to continue.”

“The CLC’s creation was a result of the 2013 Pye Tait report. That same report also gave the CLC the power to investigate the best ways of establishing a common industry approach to the limited life of all cards, the renewal process and any required revocation processes.

“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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Lewis Tyler
Lewis Tyler Editor Tel: 44 (0)1892 786285 E-mail: lewis.tyler@khl.com