How drugs can impact on your workplace plus how to create a policy, and guidance on testing
You have a legal duty to control the risks that can arise from substance use while staff are at work.
Raising awareness of drugs issues in the workplace has wider benefits for both individuals and the organisation in terms of
In their widest sense, drugs are substances that alter the way in which the mind or body works. The effects of drugs vary from substance to substance and also from person to person. These include
These also include controlled drugs such as
Many drugs have the potential to affect a person’s ability to do their job safely and to keep their colleagues or other people safe too. As a result, you need to
As an employer you have a duty under Health and Safety law to make sure that your staff work safely and do not put others at risk. Managing the impact of any drug use would be included in this.
Those driving while at work are also covered by Road and Rail safety laws.
Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes it a criminal offence to allow someone to supply or use controlled drugs in your premises.
Routine medication may be needed to allow your employee to continue to carry out their work safely and effectively. For example medication taken for
However, some routine medication can adversely affect your employee’s ability to perform their job as safely. This can impact on both their own health and those of their colleagues. For example diazepam or sleeping drugs, although prescribed by a doctor, can affect the ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
It is important that you are aware of the potential impact of substance use on your business and have considered what needs to done to deal with the risks.
For more information on specific types of drugs, you can visit the
Know the Score website.
The misuse of drugs, whether intentional or unintentional, can also have far reaching effects on staff's personal and working lives.
If not addressed it can lead to
Consider the potential for misuse of drugs in your workplace and create a policy on handling any issues and supporting your staff. This will increase the likelihood of issues being highlighted at an earlier point and minimise the impact on your business.
One of the best ways to address the possible risk of drug misuse by employees in your organisation is to create a drug policy. If you already have an alcohol policy or are tackling these issues at the same time, you could combine these policies.
It clarifies everyone’s rights and responsibilities. It also allows any problems relating to drugs to be dealt with in a positive and consistent manner. It shows staff that support is available to help them stay in work.
The policy should be available to everyone. It should also be applied to all employees, regardless of status.
It should clearly state
You can find out more about implementing an effective alcohol and drug policy in our drugs and alcohol in the workplace publication and on our alcohol page.
Go to our drugs and alcohol in the workplace publication
Many employers consider a drug testing programme as part of their policy on drugs. This can be important for those working in safety-critical jobs.
However it does raise some issues in terms of human rights. You would also need to make sure that tests are carried out in a way where the results will be acceptable as evidence in any proceedings.
Healthy Working Lives’ Promoting an alcohol- and drugs-free working environment booklet contains useful information on implementing an alcohol and drugs policy at work.
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team