Alcohol and drug misuse is an area of health and social concern. The misuse of drugs and alcohol can also be a serious workplace issue. Alcohol and drug consumption may result in reduced work performance, damaged customer relations, and resentment among employees who have to ‘carry’ colleagues whose work declines because of their problem.
Alcohol & drug misuse is a problem for many organisations. Alcohol and drug misuse not only damages the employee’s health but it can also be costly to employers due to:
- loss of productivity and poor performance
- lateness and absenteeism
- safety concerns
- effect on team morale and employee relations
- bad behaviour or poor discipline
- adverse effects on company image and customer relations
Employers have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. Employers also have a duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees. Employers could be prosecute if knowingly allow an employee under the influence of drug or alcohol to continue working and his or her behaviour places the employee or others at risk. Employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do at work.
Furthermore the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes the production, supply and possession of controlled drugs unlawful except in certain specified circumstances (for example, when they have been prescribed by a doctor). Employers would be committing an offence if knowingly permit the production, supply or use of any controlled drugs to take place on their premises.
In addition employers should also be aware of duties imposed under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Transport and Works Act 1992.
The Transport and Works Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence for certain workers to be unfit through drugs and/or drink while working on railways, tramways and other guided transport systems. The operators of the transport system would also be guilty of an offence unless they had shown all due diligence in trying to prevent such an offence being committed.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that any person who, when driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs shall be guilty of an offence. An offence is also committed if a person unfit through drink or drugs is in charge of a motor vehicle in the same circumstances.
The UK Government recognises that it is good practice for companies to have in place a written policy on drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
This Alcohol and Drug Policy template has been drafted to help businesses deal with alcohol and drug related problems at work. This Policy is designed to help companies comply with their legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees by informing employees that the company operates a zero tolerance approach to alcohol and drug abuse. It provides practical steps to prevent alcohol and drug related problems and informs employees of their rights and responsibilities regarding the misuse of drug and alcohol.
This Alcohol and Drug Policy sets out the procedures that the company will follow to minimise the risks associated with alcohol and drug related problems. This Policy provides a framework where the company offers support an advice to employees who may have an alcohol and/or drug related problem while it also clearly explain any possible disciplinary actions. The Policy aims to encourage employees to seek help and to prevent alcohol and drug related problems in the workplace. The Policy applies to all employees equally and is suitable for any company whatever the size or industry.
All companies, large and small, can benefit from having an Alcohol and Drug Policy.
The Alcohol and Drug Policy contains the following clauses:
- Policy Aims
- Alcohol and Drug Prohibition
- Recognising Alcohol or Drug Abuse Problem
- Diagnosing the Existence of Alcohol or Drug Abuse Problem
- Confirmation of Alcohol or Drug Abuse Problem
- Special Circumstances
- Drug & Alcohol Testing
This Policy is in Microsoft Word format, written in plain English, easy to use and edit.