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Drugs & Alcohol at Work

Posted On: 10/12/2019

Employers have a legal duty to safeguard their workforce and reduce health and safety risks. To achieve this all organisations should have an effective drug and alcohol policy in place, have key members of staff trained to look out for signs of use and to offer support.

Creating a drug and alcohol policy

If your organisation does not have a workplace drug and alcohol policy, we would recommend that you put one in place. When your company is clear on the rules it will reduce the risk of any misunderstandings, sustain health, strengthen productivity and reduce absence levels.

This policy should form part of your Health & Safety policies and procedures and should:

Policies are more likely to be well received when the workforce has been involved in their creation. Engagement with your staff during the initial stages of creation will foster trust and credibility.

Supporting staff

It is best practice to train managers on how to recognise signs of drug or alcohol use at work, how to intervene and what action to take if an employee tells them about a problem they have.

Within the policy document it must be made clear that any individuals who wish to have support for their drug or alcohol use will be treated sensitively and in confidence.

Screening for drugs and alcohol

The testing of drug and alcohol use is more relevant in certain sectors, such as industries where individuals have to make critical decisions or operate machinery. To support any screening policy the company must justify the reason, for example, there is a health and safety risk or potential to cause damage to the business.

If testing is to form part of your company’s drug and alcohol policy this should also be referenced in the contract of employment and it is usual practice for any recognised trade union to be consulted due to the legal, practical and ethical issues. It’s wise to think carefully before introducing screening, you’ll need to consider exactly what it is you want to achieve and what you will do with the results.

There are several circumstances when a drug test may be required:

Issues to consider:

We’re here to help

 Here at P3 People Management we put people at the heart of everything we do and believe that a workforce who understand that they are being cared for and supported will become loyal, highly motivated and work hard to help the organisation reach its goals.

Our HR helpline will allow you access to expert advice and guidance to support you with any queries you may have regarding your workforce.

To support you further we provide a free policy review so If your organisation requires professional HR help please contact us on 0161 941 2426. 




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“Following our management buyout in 2013 we had no in-house HR expertise to call on. We secured the services of P3PM at that time to ensure we had the right level of knowledge and operational HR experience to manage this major change project. Their work was first class, to the extent that we retained their services to lead all of our day to day HR activities, in addition to providing strategic leadership on people related initiatives. During that time we have successfully completed fundamental changes to our operational model, enhanced our HR policies, improved employee satisfaction and gained Investors in People accreditation. We could not have achieved this work without the engagement and support of the team at P3PM. ”

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