I read with interest your article ‘An Accident Waiting to Happen’ (CM, February 2007).

I read with interest your article ‘An Accident Waiting to Happen’ (CM, February 2007). The article raises some interesting moral questions about the point at which an employee’s private life impinges on their public performance. But at the end of the day we are talking about working environments in which people’s ability to function and clarity of judgement is absolutely critical.

At Bovis Lend Lease we have already instigated tests in some critical sectors. In our rail business, for instance, pre-employment screening and random testing is a pre-requisite.

The safety of our people, and everyone with whom we have contact or for whom we are responsible, is paramount to us. This is the driving ethos behind our policy, which will be facilitated by an occupational health team.

While our policy, therefore, has to be one of zero tolerance and anyone testing positive will be removed from our site immediately, we will also be providing counselling and support for any employee who believes they have an ongoing problem. That said, until we are absolutely certain that the problem is 100% resolved, that employee will not be working on our sites.

No one can afford to ignore this issue. While there are plenty of our like-minded peers out there who are taking this issue very seriously, there are still a worrying number of companies who are choosing to ignore the issue altogether, for a whole host of reasons.

The industry needs to come together on this and put some consistent guidelines and practices in place. Turning a blind eye to drink and drug abuse on any construction site is putting people at risk across our industry.

Murray Coleman, CEO, Bovis Lend Lease UK