How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JGM Your Own Question
JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11125
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
31090051
Type Your Law Question Here...
JGM is online now

My partner works offshore. He went up to Aberdeen on Wednesday

Resolved Question:

My partner works offshore. He went up to Aberdeen on Wednesday ready to take an airplane flight from the heliport to meet the chopper in the Shetlands. He unfortunately made the mistake of having a few drinks the night before and failed a spot breath test at the heliport. The reading was 75 (with the Scottish limit at 22). He doesn't understand how the reading was over, let alone so very high. He requested a blood test but was told that it would be a waste of time as it would be a useless reading by the time it could be arranged. He was suspended and sent home by his company (with no HR resource or advice available) and has now been called back up to Aberdeen for a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday morning. They told him that he would be investigated under the rule that states you have to be able to do your job safely without drugs or alcohol. He may be sacked and we will be in real trouble. I don't understand how he can have no way of proving that the breath test was wrong. He would never drink so much to jeapordise his safety or that of his colleagues.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question.
What does his contract say about readings and limits?
As you say he was drinking the night before, how much did he have?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm not sure what his contract says. He will need to find his contract tomorrow at his old house. The safety video they watch just before boarding says not to drink a day before. He did wrong by his own admission by drinking at all, but he should have been clear after one gin and tonic before his evening meal, and two glasses of wine with his evening meal. He was in bed asleep before midnight. He has sandwiches and a bottle of water for breakfast and had to check in at 7.30am on Thursday gone. We do not believe the breath test was correct. The disciplinary letter said about being too drunk to work, which was not the case, not being zero tested for alcohol which makes me think his contract must not be zero alcohol. ... is tomorrow too late to continue this discussion once we have the contract?

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
No let me know. Also let me know if there are any witnesses who were with him and can say what he drank the night before.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He was with a group that he is on shift with. They all ate together so would all have to admit they had a drink the night before going offshore. They work for BP though where my partner is subcontracted to them. I will message tomorrow with the wording of the contract. Will it be easy to rejoin this chain of discussion?

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Yes it will still be here.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello.

We can only find the letter appointing him to the rig, not an actual contract. None of the paperwork or amendments he has mention alcohol at all.

He has asked me to tell you that he blew into the same breathalyser twice as the first reading said it was negative due to insufficient flow.

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
It will be difficult to establish that the reading was wrong without evidence form another source as to what he actually drank. I presume a gin and two glasses of wine wouldn't affect a reading the morning after especially if he had a meal in the evening as well.
My main experience as you will appreciate is with car drivers. 75 is over twice the "old" limit for driving and I can't see that if had three drinks the night before he's going to be at that level the next morning.
Either he had more than that or there is a mistake somewhere. As he requested a blood test that is in his favour. Even if he's not in a union he is entitled to a union rep or other colleague to be present at the disciplinary hearing. He may want to take along with him one of the colleagues he was with at the meal.
As I say he does need further evidence of his alcohol consumption. He also ask for the machine calibrations and service history. Was anyone else tested at the same time? Was the machine working properly?
Those are my thoughts at the moment. Happy to discuss.
JGM and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

None of the colleagues present at the meal can attend as they are all offshore. They do agree though that something is very wrong and will be sending emails of support and evidence to be used at the hearing on tuesday. He will be supported by the onshore chemist who works for another company and has known him for years.

Is this then the way he should present himself? That he has nearly 20 years service with NO blemish on his history, that he disputes the test result and that he wasn't allowed to prove himself by a blood test. That he has witnesses to what he drank and that the test cannot be correct.

Do you feel that this should be enough to cast doubt on the test and save his job? The other issue is that he wouldn't have been on the chopper or the rig for hours after the test anyway.

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for replying. I think that is precisely the way he has to approach this. As far as the fact that he wouldn't be on the rig for hours after the test I don't think is necessarily helpful although without the contract I don't know what the rules are about that. I would imagine that the test has to be negative at the point of reporting for duty at the terminus, not on arrival at the rig.