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Drug and Alcohol in the Workplace
Stress in the Workplace

In February 2001 a highly successful conference, ‘Combating Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace’, was held at the Guildhall. As a result the City of London Drug Action Team, working with businesses and other key partners, decided to address a need identified by many employers.
What is the scale of substance misuse in the workplace?
How should we respond to this issue and where can we get unbiased help and advice?
In particular it was recognised that smaller companies, lacking in-house human resource departments, may be in particular need of help and advice. If even one key individual is affected, the impact of substance misuse problems on a small company can be overwhelming.

Independent Therapy Solutions is working in Partnership with the local Braintree Drug & Alcohol Reference Group, part of the Essex D.A.T to provide Essex Businesses with support and information regarding policy design and implementation, training to provide the best help for their staff while fulfilling their statutory responsibility and keeping the company safe from litigation and treatment provision

How alcohol and drugs affect your workplace?

  • Alcohol related absence costs business £2 billion a year.
  • Almost 17 million working days are lost each year due to alcohol related problems.
  • Alcohol is involved in more than 20% of industrial accidents


  But you might also consider ……
12% of the adult population used one or more illicit drugs in the past year.
Alcohol features in-almost a third of all UK divorce petitions, which means one or both partner's drinking habits have contributed to the bust up.
Alcohol robs your body of vitamin B complex, a vital group of nutrients, deficiency of which can cause skin damage, diarrhoea and depression.
Booze is believed to feature as a reason behind 25% of all school exclusions in the UK.
Booze features in almost 40% of all domestic violence incidents in the UK.
Every Christmas in the UK, 10,000 people seek help for alcohol-related problems.

The legal position

You have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of your employees. If you knowingly allow an employee under the influence of excess alcohol to continue working and this places the employee or others at risk, you could be prosecuted.
Similarly, your employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do. In the transport industry, there is additional legislation in place to control the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
The Transport and Works Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence for certain workers to be unfit through drink and/or drugs 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.


Dealing with an employee with a possible alcohol problem: treatment or discipline?

  • Employees with a drink problem have the same rights to confidentiality and support as they would if they had any other medical or psychological condition.
  • Disciplinary action should be a last resort. A court may find a dismissal unfair if an employer has made no attempt to help an employee whose work problems are related to drinking alcohol.
  • The cost of recruiting and training a replacement may be greater than the cost of allowing someone time off to obtain expert help. .
  • Many people with an alcohol problem are able in time to regain full control over their drinking and return to their previous work performance.
  • It may be very difficult for people to admit to themselves or others that their drinking is out of control. They need to know that you will treat their drinking problem as a health problem rather than an immediate cause for dismissal or disciplinary action.
  • If employees' drinking is a matter of concern, they should be encouraged to seek help from their GP or a specialist alcohol agency.
Drug and Alcohol  Abuse

What can your company do about it?

You can put in place a workplace drug and alcohol policy that clearly outlines your company's rules and procedures for dealing with substance use and offers support and advice on where and how employees should

Why does your business need a policy / strategy?

It will:

  • Prevent problems by raising awareness
  • Help you to identify problems early
  • Assist senior staff to deal with problems
  • Provide support for your staff and help them re-integrate into the workplace
  • Help you to comply with health and safety legislation
  • Help you to fulfil your legal duty of care
  • Help you to fulfil your corporate social responsibility
  • Save you money

We will be working together to help local businesses through the minefield of substance misuse and its implications providing Seminars and workshops. 

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EAP Drug and Alcohol in the Workplace Stress in the Workplace