Alcohol and drugs in the workplace can be a major problem, potentially resulting in inappropriate behaviour, absenteeism, and lower productivity. Issues with alcohol and drugs in the workplace can also lead to poor time keeping, presenteeism and poor decision-making.
The good news is, there are a whole host of things employees can do to stay on top of illicit drink and drug use in order to prevent issues such as lost productivity, accidents at work, errors, and the loss of goods due to carelessness.
What does the law say?
All employers have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to address any issues that affect the health and safety of their employees. This extends to alcohol and drug use.
What can employers to address alcohol and drugs in the workplace?
First and foremost, all employers should have an alcohol and drug policy in place outlining the rules regarding alcohol and illicit drugs, the support available to employees if drugs and alcohol are a problem, who the policy applies to and why it exists, as well as how employees can seek help when required.
Of course, all issues concerning alcohol and illicit drug use should also be handled with strict confidentiality and should be seen as a health concern rather than a disciplinary issue.
All managers and supervisors should also be trained to recognise the signs of substance abuse including personality changes, physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking hands, and loss of interest in personal care and hygiene. Frequent restroom use and unexplained absences can also raise concern.
Absences relating to drug and alcohol abuse should be addressed in exactly the same way as other types of absence.
Workplace screening and testing
Another way to address alcohol and drug use concern in the workplace is to invest in workplace screening and testing.
Becoming increasingly common in a wide range of workplaces, screening and testing has been proven to help keep the workplace safe, however a thorough alcohol and illicit drug use policy needs to be in place to avoid any potential pitfalls relating to legislation and guidance.
All samples obtained must always be safeguarded and all employees must fully understand the purpose of the tests. Appropriate advice and suppose must be also provided when required.
Why is it important that workplaces address drug and alcohol misuse?
Drug and alcohol misuse can have a huge impact on all aspects of a business’ day-to-day operations and it’s crucial that all alcohol and drink concerns are taken incredibly seriously.
In some cases, it can be beneficial to seek the help of a medical professional to provide support your workplace. They will be able to provide advice and support to both employers and employees when it comes to handling any issues.
If you need advice on any of the issues above, contact us today to see how we can help