Romania: EWCO CAR on Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace

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  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Health and well-being at work,
  • Working conditions,
  • Published on: 07 May 2012

Luminita Chivu

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Alcohol and drug addiction at the work place has not been a topic of interest for trade unions and employer organisations. Public authorities developed strategies and plans to control the use of alcohol and drugs, with a special eye for the young population, but the actions and targets to keep in check such habits among workers are rather weak.


Block 1: Main sources of information dealing with the issue of alcohol/drug use at the workplace at national level and its relation with working conditions, etc.

1.1 Are there national statistical sources (surveys, administrative registers including company reports as surveys / reports from the Labour Inspectorate, Labour doctors, etc) that provide information on the issue of alcohol/drug use at the workplace in your country? If so, identify them and explain their characteristics and methodology. Please refer both to general population health surveys/sources or general alcohol/drug use surveys/sources as to working conditions or workplace specific surveys/sources

  • Name of the statistical source

  • Scope

  • Goals

  • Methodology

  • Periodicity

No official statistic reports (inquiries, administrative reports, etc.) have been made in Romania on the use of drugs and alcohol at the workplace.

1.2. Are there any other sources of information (published after mid-2000s) that may provide valuable information on the issue (i.e. ad-hoc studies, sectoral studies, administrative reports, articles, published case studies, etc). If so, identify and describe them.

Every year, under the coordinated guidance of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police (Inspectoratul General al Poliţiei Române, IGPR), and the National Anti-Drug Agency (Agenţia Naţională Antidrog, ANA), a 'National Report on Drug Use' is published, reflecting the latest developments, trends, and data regarding subject-related topics of European interest.

National data come especially from the Drug Control Assessment and Counselling Centres (Centrele de Prevenire, Evaluare şi Consiliere Anti-Drog, CPECA), and from the National Centre for Computer-Assisted Health Records (Centrul Naţional pentru Organizarea şi Asigurarea Sistemului Informaţional şi Informatic din Domeniul Sănătate, CNOASIIDS) of the Ministry of Health (Ministerul Sănătăţii, MS).

Such data refer to the number of persons admitted to drug rehabilitation clinics, and their distribution between the various social environments and professions (secondary and tertiary students, non-productive persons, unemployed persons, jobless persons, persons on permanent employment, and persons having their own business).

Block 2: Information on the extent of the use of alcohol and drugs at the workplace in your country, as well as the type of situations (sectors, occupations, working conditions, etc.) in which this use occurs, its consequences (production process, social relations at work) and the rationale behind it

2.1. Please provide the available data and information on the prevalence of drug/alcohol use at the workplace in your country, if possible differentiating data by:

  • Type of substance

  • Sectors => specific focus on the construction and transport sectors

  • Occupational profiles

  • Other relevant variables

The ANA national drug reports reveal the following figures (Table 1).

Table 1: Share of permanently employed and self-employed persons of the total number of individuals admitted for treatment
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Persons admitted to treatment on account of drug use, of whom:






Persons on permanent employment or having their own business (%)






Unemployed or jobless (%)






Source: EMCDDA, IGPR, ANA, 'National Report on Drugs',, 2006, 2009, 2010.

The use of alcohol at the workplace has not been the concern of any studies, surveys, profession-, trade-, or sector-related analyses.

Also, national trade unions and employer organisations representatives which were contacted during the study elaboration (National Trade Union Confederation Cartel Alfa, Confederaţia Naţională Sindicală Cartel Alfa, Cartel Alfa and National Employer Confederation from Industry, Agriculture, Construction and Services from Romania, Confederaţia Patronală din Industrie, Agricultură, Construcţii şi Servicii din România, CONPIROM) responded that they don't know about the existence of studies or surveys developed by social partners in this field.

A situation analysis conducted as part of the awareness campaign titled 'The National Month of Building Awareness on the Effects of Alcohol Drinking' ('Luna naţională a informării despre efectele consumului de alcool') ((under the aegis of the MS, the Sibiu Regional Centre for Public Health (Centrul Regional de Sănătate Publică Sibiu, CRSPS), the National Centre for Health Evaluation and Support (Centrul Naţional de Evaluare şi Promovare a Stării de Sănătate, CNEPSS) and the National Institute for Public Health (Institutul Naţional de Sănătate Publică, INSP)) reveals, among other things, the fact that the data existing at present in Romania on the use of alcohol are scanty and discontinuous. The most recent inquiry of the MS into the indicators of health dates back to 1997. The only studies carried out in Romania were internationally coordinated studies: ESPAD – 'European Schools Inquiry into the Use of Alcohol and other Drugs', and the HBSC – 'Health Behaviour in School-aged Children'.

'The European Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2010' also carries a country profile of Romania.

According to this Report, the consumption of alcohol among adults (aged 15 and over) in Romania was 11.3 litters of pure alcohol / inhabitant / year. An estimated unrecorded consumption of 4 litters' /person/ year would bring the total to 15.3 litters / person/ year.

The ANA reports indicate a correlation between earnings' level and the incidence of alcohol consumption. In other words, the alcohol consumption incidence is generally higher for the individuals with a high level of earnings.

2.2. Please provide data and information on the rationale and consequences of drug/alcohol use at work. Focus on construction, transport:

Reasons for consuming alcohol/drugs

  • Use of drugs related to certain working conditions (e.g. alcohol when working in cold / warm environments; stimulants when working at high rhythm, etc…)

  • Accessibility/availability

Consequences of consuming alcohol/drugs

  • Working conditions affected by drug use (risk increase, accidents, absenteeism, sick leave…):

  • Accidents and fatalities due to alcohol/drug use

  • Sick leaves attributed to alcohol/drugs, absenteeism

  • Assessment of costs

  • Use of alcohol/drugs negatively affecting other working conditions:

  • Uneven workload distribution…

  • Work organisation

  • Working environment (deteriorated social relations at work, higher number of conflicts…)

Absent the relevant information on which we could base our report with regard to the reasons and consequences of drug and alcohol use at the workplace (confirmed by the interviews with national trade unions' and employer organisations' representatives), we deem that in two economic sectors, construction and transport, the main reason has to do with the working conditions.

In the construction sector, for example:

During summer, temperatures in Romania range between 30۫ - 40۫ Celsius in the shade, and this requires an additional intake of liquids.

In autumn and winter, temperatures drop sometimes much below zero. Besides, the physical nature of construction work requires a large amount of energy.

In the transport sector, drivers are often subject to inspections and tests for alcohol ingestion. However, their activity being most of the time away from the eyes of their bosses, they may, during breaks, break the no-alcohol rule, exposing themselves and others to accidents and to detection by breathalyser.

According with the Romanian Road Code Law, at the request of policeman, all the vehicles drivers are obliged to comply at testing procedures for breathe air or/and to the blood analysis in order to be established the level of alcohol or the consumption of dope products and substances or medicines with similar effects with these.

Block 3: Identify legislation and agreements at national level concerning alcohol/drugs use at the workplace, specifically those related to testing practices

3.1. Please identify and describe the main existing legislation and agreements concerning the prohibition/limitation of alcohol/drug use at work:

  • Is there any legislation or agreement specifically intended to prohibit or limit alcohol/drug use at work? Please describe:

  • Type of legislation / agreement (Government or parliament laws, agreements from social dialogue, from the Governments and social partners, from other organisations, etc.)

  • Contents, stipulations

  • Collectives affected

  • Is there any sectoral legislation or agreement with the same purpose? Please focus on the construction and transport sectors

Until 2006, the Decree no. 400/29 December 1981 had been in force, which explicitly forbade the use of alcohol at the workplace.

In 2006, a new piece of legislation, Law no. 319 on health and safety at work, abolished the decree. Law 319 has no explicit stipulation against the use of alcohol at the workplace. This leaves the entire responsibility on the shoulders of employers.

Employers are at liberty (not legally bound) to include anti-alcohol and anti-drug clauses in their companies’ internal rules/regulation of order and in the individual employment contracts.

According with article 6 of the law, the employer has the obligation to ensure workers' health and safety in all the aspects related to work (alin.1). The obligations of the workers in the field of health and safety do not prejudice to principle of employer responsibility (align 3).

In this context, in the event of a labour accident, if the person who caused it is found to have consumed alcohol, the Labour Inspection Office (Inspecţia Muncii, IM) applies penalties to the employer, for the fault of having neglected to give the employee the requisite labour safety training, or for having failed to ensure the observance by all of the internal labour safety rules.

3.2. Specific focus on legislation / agreements regarding testing practices intended to control the use of alcohol/drugs at work. Please consider questions such us:

  • how are the tests regulated (agreements / legislation or are there guidelines)?

  • what type/forms of tests – testing methods and for what type of substances?

  • who can ask for tests, on who's initiative are tests initiated? for what purpose/reasons?

  • is the consent of the person to be tested needed?

  • is pre-employment testing (before work contract signing) allowed? can tests be included as a clause in work contracts?

  • by whom are the tests undertaken? are tests limited to safety sensitive positions or specific sectors (transport, etc.) or are they overall?

  • when, at what moment can tests be undertaken?

  • What are the necessary established pre-conditions for proceeding for a test?

  • what are the conditions/rules/procedure under which tests can be undertaken? what is the role of the labour doctor and labour inspectorate in testing?

  • To whom will the results be communicated and under what reporting form/

  • who has access to the results of the tests?

  • what can be the consequences of positive results on the work contractual relation?

Describe changes, evolution development of regulation / agreements on testing, drawing the attention to the review in light of the improvement of the testing methods

Nation-wide or sector-valid regulations regarding testing and inspection into alcohol and drug use at the workplace do not exist.

Employers are free to choose their own testing methods, which they may provide in the collective agreement or in the individual employment contracts, or in the company’s internal rules of order.

The legislation in force sets forth the rules of the psychological testing for the issuance of a driving licence, and the testing of the alcohol contents in the blood of automotive drivers.

The Labour Code forbids only the testing of women for identifying pregnancy (article 27, Labour code law no. 53/2003.

Specific testing methods are provided by Law 227/2006 regarding the prevention and fights against doping for sports people (

In principle, the law does not forbid employers from testing their own workers for alcohol or drugs, but the law is silent as to the testing procedure.

Block 4: Identify and describe national prevention programmes to combat the use of alcohol/drugs at the workplace, especially those based on agreements and cooperation of the social partners:

  • Organisation(s) responsible for these programmes

  • Drivers and motivations. Objectives

  • Target groups (sectors, specific occupations…)

  • Content and activities developed (campaigns for alcohol/drug free workplaces, information to workers, training, professional counselling and personal assistance, reintegration programmes…)

  • Tools (seminars, brochures, toolkits, guidelines, polls, tests…)

  • Inter-relation with other (health) programmes. Participation of health professionals

  • Are the prevention programmes integrated in the general working conditions/OSH training programmes and management systems?

  • Are the prevention programmes based on joint assessment of the social partners and defined in an agreed policy for the enterprises? Role of work councils and H/S committees.

  • Performance and outcomes of the programmes

  • Changes overtime

  • Assessment of the programmes. Point of view of the social partners.

Currently in force for the entire country are 'The National Drug Control Strategy 2005 – 2012', and 'The Programme of National Interest for the Prevention of the Use of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs 2009-2012', approved by Government Decision no. 1.101/2008.

Another Government Decision, no. 1369 of December 2010, approved 'The Action Plan for the National Drug Control Strategy 2010-2012'.

The general aim is to 'maintain a low level of illicit drug use, and to reduce people’s use of alcohol (...) through stronger preventive measures and through the development of the public and private health care, psychological, and social services.'

Most of the plan of action is centred on preventing the use of drugs by children and youths.

One of the specific targets is to 'draw up and conduct state-budgeted programmes designed to prevent the use of drugs (…), including programmes tailored to the specifics of various occupations', For this purpose, the plan intends to 'perform a number of quality studies with the aim of identifying efficient and dedicated intervention strategies at the workplace, and occupational groups that are prone to drug use.'

The deadline for the fulfilment of the plan is December 2012, and the task is shared between IGPR, ANA, MMFPS, Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports (Ministerul Educaţiei, Cercetării, Tineretului şi Sportului, MECTS), Ministry of Public Finance (Ministerul Finanţelor Publice, MFP), the National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection (Institutul Naţional de Cercetare Ştiinţifică în Domeniul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, INCSMPS), and the National Council for Adult Vocational Training (Consiliul Naţional pentru Formarea Profesională a Adulţilor, CNFPA).

One of the actions taken in the recent years has been the national awareness campaign about the risks of alcohol drinking by active individuals. Its slogan was 'Lay the Cards on the Table' (January – March 2009), it was coordinated by ANA, MMFPS/National Agency for Employment (Agenţia Naţională pentru Ocuparea Forţei de Muncă, ANOFM), and was carried out locally by CPECA. The general aim of the campaign was to inform regular employees of the risks of alcohol abuse.

Commentary by the NC

NCs are requested to provide a very brief commentary on main obtained results

According with the opinions of the national trade unions' and employer organisations' representatives (which has affiliated federations including from construction and transport sector), generally the use of alcohol and drugs at the workplace is not a topic of major importance on the agenda of the social partners, at either national or company level.

The social partners’ views on this issue do not appear anywhere in the media, but there have been trade unions which contributed to the awareness campaigns.

Formal statistics and public sources of information on this issue are practically inexistent, which is why surveys and analyses reflecting such concerns are very few in Romania.

Luminita Chivu, Institute of National Economy


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