087/16/Gen.Inf. IMCA publishes guidance on drug and alcohol

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The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published ‘Guidance on drug & alcohol policies and testing’ (SEL 040). The document addresses the importance of a broad multi-disciplinary approach, with the involvement of different departments, including Occupational Health, Human Resources, and Legal as well as operations departments.

“Naturally, the focus of a drug and alcohol policy should be on prevention,” says Richard Benzie, IMCA’s Technical Director.

“Education of the workforce will help them ‘buy into’ the process, making it easier to implement policies and procedures relating to drug and alcohol testing.

IMCA says that the taking of samples, whether they are urine samples, breath samples or any other samples, should be done with the utmost care and rigid attention to procedure. The procedures should be carefully drafted. This guidance is intended to aid that process, but has not been prepared by medically qualified personnel and legal experts in this field. Wherever medical or legal guidance is required, the reader should consult an appropriate medical or legal adviser.

The focus of a drug and alcohol policy should be on prevention. Education of the workforce is of the essence. The workforce should understand the reasons for this policy and how abuse of drugs or alcohol affects their health. Education and training will help them ‘buy into’ the process, making it much easier to implement the policies and procedures relating to drug and alcohol testing.

Those involved in implementing the drug and alcohol policy, e.g. deck officers, should as far as is possible be properly trained to international standards; alternatively, consideration may be given to using an outside contractor who has all the training and support processes already in place.

When establishing procedures for the taking of samples, there are a number of issues that should be addressed, which are dealt in the guidance below

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Source: IMCA

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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