Drug and Alcohol Policies

Alcohol policies

Drug and Alcohol Policies

Home Services Drug and Alcohol Policies

Drug and Alcohol Policies

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees’ health, safety, and welfare, this is why businesses need drug and alcohol policies in the workplace.

Alcohol policies

Understanding the signs of drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) will help you to manage health and safety risks in your workplace, develop a policy to deal with drug and alcohol-related problems, and support your employees. This policy should sit within employee handbooks.

What the issues are and what to look out for Misuse is not the same thing as dependence.  Drug and alcohol misuse is the use of illegal drugs and misuse of alcohol, medicines, and substances such as solvents.

Warning signs of drug or alcohol misuse

Consider these warning signs, which could indicate drug or alcohol misuse:

  •  Unexplained or frequent absences  
  • Change in behaviour
  • Unexplained dips in productivity
  • More accidents or near-misses
  • Performance or conduct issues

These can also be signs of other things, like stress or illness.  Our resources page can help you with managing stress or sickness absence, including them returning to work. 

Check out our YouTube video on drug and alcohol testing in the workplace

Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace

Drug and Alcohol policies example

We have created a drug and alcohol policy template that may be used as a starting point for companies within their employee handbook. For a more in-depth policy, bespoke to your business get in contact with us today. 

Drugs and Alcohol Policy

1. Purpose: To ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all employees and to maintain a productive and professional work environment.

2. Scope: This policy applies to all employees of [Company Name].

3. Policy Statement: [Company Name] is committed to a drug-free and alcohol-free workplace. The use, possession, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs and the misuse of legal drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited on company premises or during working hours.

4. Prohibitions:

  • Employees must not report to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs on company premises or during working hours is strictly prohibited.
  • Misuse of prescription medications is not allowed.

5. Alcohol at Company Events: Alcohol may be served at company-sponsored events. Employees are expected to consume responsibly and never drive under the influence.

6. Testing: [Company Name] reserves the right to conduct drug and alcohol testing under specific circumstances, including:

  • Post-accident investigations.
  • When there is a reasonable suspicion of substance abuse.

7. Confidentiality: All drug and alcohol testing results and related information will remain confidential.

8. Violations: Violations of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

9. Support and Rehabilitation: Employees facing drug or alcohol problems are encouraged to seek help. [Company Name] may provide resources or referrals for rehabilitation or counselling.

10. Review: This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure compliance with legal and industry standard. 

How to manage drugs or alcohol misuse in the workplace

You must consult employees or their representatives on health and safety matters. Consultation involves not only giving information to employees but also listening to them and taking account of what they say.

You could ask your employees what they know about the effects of drugs and alcohol on health and safety and the restrictions or rules on drug and alcohol use in your business.


FAQs for drugs and alcohol in the workplace

In the UK, there’s no overarching legislation specifically addressing alcohol consumption in all workplaces. However, employers have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the well-being of their employees.

Many UK businesses have strict policies prohibiting alcohol during work hours. Certain sectors, like transportation and healthcare, have stringent regulations against alcohol consumption due to safety concerns. It’s crucial for employees to be familiar with their specific employer’s alcohol policy and any sector-specific regulations.

Employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all employees. Regarding alcohol, responsibilities include:

  1. Establishing clear policies on alcohol consumption during working hours.
  2. Providing training and awareness on the effects of alcohol.
  3. Offering support and resources for employees dealing with alcohol-related issues.
  4. Ensuring the workplace is free from alcohol impairment, especially in safety-sensitive roles.
  5. Addressing alcohol-related misconduct promptly and fairly.

In the UK, each employer may have its own alcohol policy tailored to its specific needs. Generally, an alcohol policy might cover:

  1. Prohibition of consumption: Clarity on not consuming alcohol during working hours and not reporting to work under the influence.
  2. Safety emphasis: Highlighting the importance of safety, especially in roles with potential hazards like machinery operation or driving.
  3. Support mechanisms: Offering help to those facing alcohol-related challenges, possibly through counselling or treatment referrals.
  4. Awareness and training: Conducting regular sessions on alcohol misuse and its effects.
  5. Testing: Details on when and how alcohol testing might be carried out, especially in safety-critical roles.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure workplace safety and well-being.

  • Ensuring a safe working environment by preventing accidents and near-misses related to substance misuse.
  • Supporting the health and well-being of all employees.
  • To adhere to legal and regulatory obligations, especially in safety-critical industries.
  • Maintaining consistent work performance and reducing absenteeism.
  • Provide clear guidelines on the company’s stance, helping employees understand expectations and consequences.
  • Offering a framework for assisting employees facing substance misuse challenges. Sets out clear workplace processes and procedures.

The drug policy in a workplace serves as a foundational guide to ensure a safe, productive, and legally compliant environment. It clearly outlines the company’s stance on drug use, establishes procedures for testing, and sets consequences for violations.

Furthermore, a well-structured drug policy demonstrates the company’s commitment to employee well-being by providing support and resources for those struggling with substance misuse. For example, the drug policy acts as a protective measure for both the company and its employees, creating a harmonious and health-conscious working environment.

How we can help your business

Our team of HR consultants can help your business draft a drug and alcohol policy that safeguards your business.  Our HR consultants can also assist you through any employee issues relating to drug and alcohol misuse and identify the next steps, helping you to consult with the employee.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to safeguard all employees.
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