Alcohol & Drug Misuse Policy
Last Updated 21 Aug 2017 in Wellbeing
The Society takes the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers seriously and this policy outlines how we do this in relation to drink and drugs, including the support available for colleagues dealing with dependency.
Key points covered:
- Definitions and consumption during work
- What to do if you think you may be dependent on drink or drugs
- How any performance/misconduct issues relating to drink/drug misuse are handled
- Searches and drugs screening
- Colleague and manager responsibilities
If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about drink or drugs our free Employee Assistance Programme can help – please call the 24/7 helpline on 0843 208 4568.
About this policy
The Society recognises that everyone has a legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of colleagues whilst at work.
Alcohol and drug consumption/dependency affects individual health and work performance in terms of safety, efficiency, productivity and attendance. In addition, it can have a detrimental effect on colleagues and their dependants. As a responsible employer, the Society recognises the need to take measures to address the issue of alcohol and drugs in the workplace.
The purpose of this policy is to achieve the following:
To have a working environment free from the effects of alcohol and drugs;
To encourage colleagues who suspect or know they have an alcohol or drug-related problem to seek help voluntarily and provide assistance to these colleagues who seek to overcome their problem;
To reduce the personal suffering of colleagues with alcohol or drug-related problems and their dependants;
To provide practical guidance on how to deal with alcohol or drug-related problems effectively;
To promote a climate which will reduce the tendency to conceal or deny alcohol or drug-related problems by enhancing awareness.
This policy is non-contractual and the Society may amend it at any time.
Definition of Alcohol & Drugs
For the purposes of this policy:
‘Alcohol’ is defined as a beverage which contains alcohol in any form. An ‘alcohol-related problem’ is defined as any consumption of alcohol which interferes with a colleague’s health, safety, welfare and performance in any aspect of employment.
‘Drugs’ are defined as illegal substances, prescribed and over-the-counter medications and legal highs (natural or synthetic). A ‘drug-related problem’ is defined as any use of drugs, or substances which in themselves are legal but may be subject to abuse such as glue or solvents, which interferes with a colleagues health, safety, welfare and performance in any aspect of employment.
It is the responsibility of all Managers to enforce this policy, regardless of whether or not they are the Line Manager in a given situation.
Breaks/Rest Periods: Save for those roles where there are health and safety reasons meaning a zero tolerance approach to alcohol consumption (e.g. caring for children, driving as part of duties),alcohol may be consumed off site but colleagues must remember that they will be subject to the limits for the presence of alcohol and drugs set out in this policy. Alcohol will not be served at breaks, rest periods and may not be consumed on Society premises. Managers should be aware of the limits and observe any abnormal or unusual behaviour after breaks, which may indicate abuse of this policy.
Hospitality, entertainment and training courses: Where colleagues are involved in corporate hospitality or entertainment of customers, suppliers or other visitors outside of working hours, they are expected to take a responsible attitude to alcohol and drugs. Colleagues should remember that they may be returning to work and will be subject to the limits for the presence of alcohol and drugs set out in this policy.
Support for colleagues
The Society is committed to providing appropriate professional help and support to colleagues who suspect or know they have an alcohol or drug-related problem and who seek help via PSG, occupational health or a recognised external agency.
It should be noted that help and support as outlined below may not be provided for any colleague who has been involved in any accident or incident that resulted in personal injury in the workplace or injury to others in the workplace, and then the colleague discloses an alcohol or drug dependency problem during disciplinary proceedings. In the interest of the colleague’s welfare, in this circumstance the Society may refer the colleague to Occupational Health.
Colleagues are therefore strongly encouraged to disclose any alcohol or drug dependency problems voluntarily, at the earliest opportunity and before any issues which might result in disciplinary action being taken.
A colleague can be advised to seek assistance and make contact with PSG or occupational health following an interview with their Manager, where it is disclosed by the colleague that they have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Following a formal or informal Manager’s referral, feedback will only be given to the Manager with the individual’s consent and where there are issues of health and safety and which may require adjustments to the colleague’s role.
It is the responsibility of the colleague’s Manager, in conjunction with advice from PSG or occupational Health, to determine a time frame for a colleague to achieve a sustained improvement. A period of 6 months is often appropriate. Colleagues will be required to comply with an agreed programme of support during this time.
Performance relating to Alcohol and Drugs
Where a colleague’s health, attendance or work performance is affected by an alcohol or drug related problem, he or she will be dealt with under the relevant procedures for managing performance or attendance. Should it transpire that the colleague’s unsatisfactory attendance or work performance is related to an ongoing alcohol or drug related problem, he or she will be advised to contact PSG who will work with Occupational Health or an appropriate external agency to seek assistance in dealing with that problem. Occupational Health will carry out an assessment, which may include screening.
A colleague can be referred to the Occupational Health by their Manager. Time off during normal working hours may be granted where treatment, rehabilitation or counselling is required. Any such time off must be agreed in advance and confirmed in writing by PSG.
Misconduct relating to the consumption of Alcohol or Drugs
Misconduct related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs is normally dealt with under the Society’s disciplinary procedure and acts of gross misconduct are likely to result in summary dismissal.
In these circumstances, if the colleague is thought to be unfit for work, he or she may be suspended from their duties whilst any investigations take place, to minimise danger to himself or herself, other colleagues and customers.
Colleagues whose alcohol or drug-related problem comes to light in the course of disciplinary proceedings (non accident / incident related) should be aware that the admission of dependency may be a mitigating factor but will not necessarily result in the suspension of disciplinary action. All cases will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The possession or trafficking of any drugs (illegal or possession of other substances with the intention of abuse) is in breach of the Society’s policies and procedures. Any Line Manager who believes that a colleague is contravening this section should immediately report the circumstances to an appropriate Senior Manager and Loss Prevention who will then prepare a written report. Any colleague found to be in possession, to have been in possession or to have been trafficking illegal drugs may be dismissed and the Police notified.
Searches and Drugs Screening
The Society reserves the right to conduct searches for alcohol or drugs on our premises, including, but not limited to, searches of lockers, filing cabinets and desks, bags, clothing, and packages. Any alcohol or drugs found as a result of a search will be confiscated and action will be taken under our Disciplinary Procedure. Where appropriate, the police may also be informed.
The Society may carry out random and/or targeted alcohol or drug testing of colleagues. Targeted testing will be appropriate where the Society has a reasonable suspicion that a colleague is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is otherwise in breach of this Policy. Drug screening will be conducted by an external provider. Arrangements will be discussed with affected colleagues, where appropriate.
Where a colleague unreasonably refuses to allow their personal items to be searched or to take part in drug screening, the Society may draw an inference regarding that refusal. In those circumstances, disciplinary action may be taken.
Managers are responsible for the day-to-day implementation of this policy and for dealing with issues which are related to alcohol or drug use. Managers are responsible for ensuring all colleagues, contractors, agency personnel and visitors with which they may be involved comply with this policy when on Society premises.
Some people can be under the influence of alcohol/drugs without it being apparent. Examples of what is deemed to be behaviour that may result in further discussions / guidance from PSG are listed below. This list of examples is neither exclusive nor exhaustive. All the circumstances should be taken into account and Managers should not rely on one particular factor.
Signs of intoxication:
Smell of alcohol,
Appearing to be detached from reality,
Making inappropriate comments.
Signs of a longer term problem:
Poor attendance and late return from lunch,
Many episodes of self -certified illness with no attempt to resolve the cause,
Poor work performance, especially large variations in quality and quantity of work of a previously reliable colleague,
Many minor errors in work,
Many accidents such as trips, slips and falls,
Deterioration in performance or personal appearance,
Lack of concentration and easily distracted,
Moody and picks arguments with colleagues,
Concern expressed by colleagues.
Colleagues are required to be aware of and comply with this Policy to ensure that their performance or ability to carry out their activities at work safely and competently is not impaired in any way. All colleagues should observe the following, and note that failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken.
All colleagues engaged in normal work activity or on scheduled / agreed duty cover either at home or elsewhere are subject to the Policy in full for the duration of the periods of duty.
The limit for alcohol set by this Policy is in line with the Government’s legal drink/drive limit, as amended from time to time. The current limit, as at the date of this Policy, is set at 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of urine, 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
In the case of drugs the threshold levels are determined in accordance with established legal and medical practice. The Society takes a zero tolerance approach to the consumption, possession or sale of illegal drugs within Society premises, outside during working hours, or in any vehicle used for business, all of which are strictly prohibited. Possession and sale of drugs are also criminal offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Specifically this means: -
Colleagues must not present themselves for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs as their performance or ability to carry out their activities at work safely and competently may be impaired.
Consumption of drugs during normal working hours or at any time on Society premises is prohibited. Consumption of alcohol during working hours is prohibited for those roles where it could impact on the safety of colleagues or customer (for example where roles entail dispensing of medicine, caring for children, and driving customers). For all other roles, consumption of alcohol is only permitted if during a break, not on the Society’s premises, and provided the colleague has not exceeded the current drink drive limit (as detailed earlier).
For clarity the normal working hours during which the policy applies includes all periods of work such as shift work, overtime and extra duty, and any period whilst waiting for work, such as between split duties. Any period of agreed standby or emergency call out duty shall be considered to be part of the normal working hours for the purposes of this Policy, and the terms of this Policy relating to working under the influence of alcohol or drugs will therefore fully apply.
When representing the Society outside normal working hours, colleagues are expected to take a responsible attitude to alcohol and drugs. Colleagues should bear in mind that they are representing the Society and must not do anything to jeopardise its reputation. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes both events organised by the Society and groups of colleagues socialising after work.
Prescribed and over the counter medications are also covered by this policy as they may cause side effects that have potential safety implications. Colleagues therefore have a duty to advise their pharmacist/general practitioner/medical practitioner of this policy when being prescribed medication. On the advice of the medical practitioner, the colleague must notify his or her Manager about any possible impact on his/her health and safety relating to his/her duties at work, so that current or alternative employment can be considered whilst he/she is being prescribed medication. The Manager may in turn seek advice from PSG/ Health & Safety / Occupational Health.
Colleagues that have been prescribed medication should be aware that they are prescribed purely for their own use and should not share with any other colleague for any reason.
Colleagues obtaining treatment or medicines for themselves should be aware of the conditions and side effects notified and where possible seek out alternatives that do not impair performance through drowsiness or other symptoms. If in doubt further guidance should be obtained.
Employee Assistance Programme
The Society have funded a FREE confidential helpline service for colleagues to talk to professionals on work or home related issues. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence and the Society does not have access to any information that you discuss with the service provider.
CALL 0843 208 4568 - A dedicated 24/7 personal line to provide you with help, support and advice when you have a medical or personal problem and you need someone to turn to.
|Policy name:||Alcohol & Drug Misuse Policy||Date of last review:||July 2019|
|Policy Owner:||PSG||Issue number:||PSG-SM-004|