Accidents at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs

On 1 July 2015 changes were made to the compulsory health insurance system, under which individuals are eligible for certain payments if they are injured in an accident at work.

Before 1 July, an accident was deemed not to be an accident a work if the injured person was under the influence of alcohol at the time. That exception has now been refined in a number of respects. Firstly, it has been extended to include those under the influence of narcotic drugs. Secondly, the exception now makes it clear that it applies to all accidents caused, to some extent, by the injured person being under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, even if that is not the sole cause. Finally, the fact that the individual was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics must be verified by tests conducted by an authorised body.

Regrettably, the new legislation does not specify what is meant by ‘narcotic drugs’ and, in particular, whether it extends to medication for medical conditions. On the whole, however, the new regime is more employer-friendly than its predecessor, whilst at the same time protecting employees against unfounded allegations of impaired judgment.