Monday, 21 December 2015

CYA and drug testing

Suppose that, as a company director, you were potentially personally liable if you did not exercise due diligence in ensuring that the company was meeting its health and safety obligations.

Suppose further that one of the ways you could demonstrate that you have exercised due diligence is by making sure that you get processes in place and that they're followed.

If there's any risk from worker impairment, then putting in place drug testing policies could be one way of demonstrating your due diligence. Heck, the Department of Labour even recommends putting in drug testing clauses where there is risk.

So we shouldn't be surprised if more companies are now requiring drug testing. It's a relatively cheap way for directors to show that they're being all diligent.
I don't like the equilibrium either. But if you want different outcomes, you do better in changing the underlying incentives. I don't see those changing any time soon.

The ODT quotes Kirk Hardy, Chief Exec of a company running drug tests for firms:
Mr Hardy knows full well drug testing for cannabis cannot establish whether a person was high at the time of testing.

And companies know that too, he says.

‘‘Most companies are using it for risk mitigation; not many companies are looking for impairment,'' he says.

‘‘Personal time doesn't really come into it.''

Mr Hardy says employees who work in safety-sensitive industries have no excuse for using drugs.
"Companies are using it for risk mitigation" - entirely in line with my CYA expectations.

I wonder how many of those who lobbied for getting tough on companies for health & safety issues really thought through the likely effects. This was entirely predictable.

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