Drug abuse or alcohol misuse at sea is a danger to the crew, vessel and fellow seafarers. With approximately 80% of maritime accidents caused by human error, consumption of drugs and alcohol increases the likelihood of incidents occurring due to the effect they have on a person’s cognitive ability. In addition, they can also affect a person’s chance of survival should any issues occur at sea.
Regular screening of drugs and alcohol is recommended for employees within the maritime industry. This is to prevent drugs and alcohol from impairing the ability of the crew and to identify, minimise and eliminate safety hazards.
The effects of drugs and alcohol at sea are emphasized with the changing environment. This is a combination of constantly changing weather conditions alongside the motion, vibration, and engine noise of the boat:
Employees in the maritime industry are also believed to be more susceptible to substance abuse. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) outlines the following as reasons for this:
To minimise the consumption of drugs and alcohol at sea there are many policies in place to ensure effective regulation of the maritime industry.
Global regulations have been put in place by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a UN agency specialised in regulating the international shipping industry. Alongside this, national legislation forms the rules which should be followed by mariners.
The International Maritime Organisation advises that national legislation includes:
They also advise that adequate measures be taken to prevent drugs and alcohol from impairing the ability of watch-keeping personnel and that this should include drug and alcohol screening solutions where necessary.
In addition the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW), who set international qualification standards, outline that it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and detail a limit no greater than 0.05% blood alcohol level or 0.25 mg/l breath alcohol level for mariners.
Workplace drug and alcohol testing should be conducted on all employees within the maritime industry. Employees on board all vessel types should be tested including stakeholders for:
At Randox Testing Services we recommend regular testing; the International Maritime Organisation advises that drug and alcohol testing be carried out to eliminate risk of drug or alcohol related incidents. Furthermore, guidelines provided by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum outline that seafarers should be tested through a mixture of random and regular testing to identify, minimise and eliminate safety hazards in the maritime industry.
At Randox Testing Services we ensure solutions to meet your needs with provision of reliable testing and a range of services to complement your workplace testing policy. In addition we offer a variety of employee testing to suit the needs of businesses across all industries.