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Kimberly Ports Authority has 0.00 tolerance for alcohol

Kimberly Ports Authority has 0.00 tolerance for alcohol (Last Updated On: October 8, 2015)

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has allowed the termination of a Kimberley Ports Authority employee after he arrived at work the day after Australia Day with alcohol in his system.

Lee Ward was employed by Kimberley Ports Authority as a casual welder, a role which occasionally required him to operate a forklift. To operate a forklift an employee must hold a high-risk work licence and have a zero blood alcohol reading.

On January 27, Ward was subjected to a random alcohol breath test shortly after he was operating the forklift. Ward blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.26%, with a subsequent test showing similar results.

Ward was sent home after the alcohol test and even though the legal limit is 0.05 he decided to drive himself, despite being offered a taxi by his employer.

A week later Kimberly Ports Authority notified Ward that his employment would be terminated due to a breach of the company’s workplace policies. Ward took his dismissal to the FWC, claiming that it was unfair. He believed that he had made a ‘genuine mistake’ and didn’t intend to arrive at work with a blood alcohol level above zero.

The FWC heard that Ward had family visiting from Perth on Australia day and over the course of 12 hours he consumed at least 20 cans of full strength beer. Ward told the FWC that he woke up at 3:00am after 4.5 hours of sleep and believed he was fine to go to work.

Commissioner Danny Cloghan disagreed, stating that just because Ward felt fine, it does not mean he was fit to work. As a result Ward’s unfair dismissal application was dismissed and Commissioner Cloghan ruled in favour of Kimberly Ports Authority.

Kimberley Ports Authority had alcohol policies and procedures in place which Ward had agreed to when he commenced work. Ward was aware of his workplace policies and did not take steps to ensure he was not in breach of them.

With the festive season fast approaching, it is a great incentive to check that you have the correct policies and procedures in place. If you are an employer and  would like help implementing a drug and alcohol policy call Employsure today on 1300 651 415.

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