No to drink at work

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 July, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 July, 1994, 12:00am

I REFER to the article which appeared in the South China Morning Post on June 30, regarding the discussion and, apparently, pending grant of a liquor licence to works canteens.

I would never have guessed that the Government, in whatever manifestation, would even consider such an absolutely foolhardy action as granting permission for workers to be supplied with intoxicating substances not only during the working day but actually in the workplace. The use of alcohol by any employee, during the working day, cannot be justified and all right-minded employers should completely prohibit alcohol and/or non-prescribed drugs from the workplace.

Further, any person found to be under the influence of these substances, in whatever quantities, should at least be sent home without pay or, better yet, dismissed. A similar fate should await those who show up for work still under the influence of the night before. These are not ''good ole boys/girls'', they are potential hazards which insurance companies should consider when rating their exposure to risk in any undertaking. As alcohol, and non-prescribed drugs, are mind-altering substances an employee partaking of such substances will have a reduced capacity for concentration and decision making. The overall quality of his/her work will also suffer.

From a legal point of view I think that the ''Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance'' sections 6a and 6b [general duties of employers and employees] could be used to bring prosecution against any employer who allowed any of his staff to be on duty ''under the influence''. Similarly a worker ''under the influence'' could also be prosecuted. Remember it only takes one beer to put you ''under the influence''. I am sure that there will be an outcry from the defenders of the ''human's right to be drunk at work brigade'', but let's face the real issue.

The general attitude of Hong Kong employers and employees to safety is bad enough when they are sober, so what chance do we have to improve safety at work when the temptation to drink alcohol, and therefore undermine safety, is given in the works canteen or in the boardroom.

Readers should understand that the writer is very partial to a couple of cold beers and the odd drop of Jack Daniels, but not while he is at work.

ANTHONY HILL Safety Professional Repulse Bay