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Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for employees in three key sectors

GDN Online Desk

Muscat: Employees working in three strategic sectors will from now on be required to undergo mandatory testing for drug and alcohol abuse, according to Oman Observer.

The Ministry of Manpower announced the new regulations which will apply to the sectors of oil and gas, ports and airports, and electricity and water.

The new measure, aimed to strengthen workplace safety in organisations at the heart of Oman’s critical infrastructure, amends certain provisions related to occupational health and safety.

Employers in each of the above-mentioned sectors should conduct regular and random medical tests of their employees to ensure that they do not abuse any drugs, (intoxicating) substances or alcohol.

Under article 24 of the amended law, the employer must take action to ensure that the workplace facilities are free from these substances.

The Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL), the main umbrella grouping of oilfield operators, contractors, vendors and service providers, is preparing to introduce guidelines that will require its members to put in place policies and procedures to enforce this new regulation.

“Substance abuse can have potentially severe impacts for business. It can lower productivity, increase staff absenteeism, and result in loss of reputation and revenue for clients,” said Hassan Al Ajmi, Mukhaizna HSE Manager at Occidental Oman.

Citing updated statistics, he said that around 20-25 per cent of health and safety-related breaches involve people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Under the new regulations, employers may conduct unannounced searches for unauthorised drugs or alcohol on company properties.

The management may determine when a search or screening process may be carried out in order to provide a safe environment and also protect the company’s assets.

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