- The Employer has a policy on drugs and alcohol which aims to ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities and duties to The Employer and fellow employees, and to ensure that The Employer complies with the law. This Policy applies to all employees and contractors, agency staff, consultants and any other individual working for, at or on behalf of The Employer.
- It defines The Employer’s intent with regard to its obligations under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Road Traffic Act 1988, the UK’s Transport and Works Act 1992 and other legislation relevant to alcohol and drug abuse (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).
- For the purposes of this policy the term ‘drug’ includes:
- substances covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971;
- prescribed and over-the-counter drugs, barbiturates, hallucinogens;
- solvents and any other substances.
- For the purposes of this policy the term ‘drug’ includes:
- Individuals who enter the workplace having consumed alcohol or drugs can have a devastating effect not only on their own safety but on that of their colleagues as well. Some prescription drugs may have an adverse effect on performance and each individual has a duty to understand the effects that these drugs can have.
- The Employer therefore requires all participants in its operations to be in a fit condition whilst engaged in its operations. This requires that the use or misuse of drugs and alcohol is prohibited.
- All employees of The Employer are responsible for ensuring that the policy is complied with at all times.
- Those persons who are found to be working with blood alcohol levels above the legal driving limit or under the influence of drugs at the time of random screening will be liable to face the disciplinary procedure including Summary Dismissal for Gross Misconduct, under The Employer’s disciplinary procedure.
- Any person who is discovered in the possession of and/or in the trading of drugs will be reported to the police, and may be subject to disciplinary action, including Summary Dismissal for Gross Misconduct, under the The Employer’s disciplinary Procedure.
- Breach of this policy, including failing to give a specimen for testing when required by The Employer, may be deemed by The Employer to be Gross Misconduct and could result in Summary Dismissal.
- Do not report for duty whilst under the influence of alcohol or having taken drugs.
- No alcohol or drugs shall be bought onto, or consumed within, the workplace.
- Do not attend work whilst taking prescribed or non-prescribed drugs without first checking with your doctor/pharmacist about the risk of the drugs affecting your fitness for work and then informing your supervisor by filling out a medication notification form. This will then be kept in your personal file.
- Do not abuse substances that may be legally used in the workplace but can be the subject of abuse, e.g. glue and solvents.
- To ensure that the workplace is kept free of the dangers which can be associated with alcohol or drugs, entry to the workplace will be refused to employees, suppliers, subcontractors and visitors who have, or who are suspected of having, recently consumed alcohol or taken drugs.
- Do not cover up for, or collude with, colleagues whose behaviour is, or could be, affected by taking any drugs or consumption of alcohol.
- Persons are required to make themselves available for unannounced screening for drugs and alcohol. Forewarning would send a signal to the employees who could change their behaviour regarding alcohol and drug use before the test.
- Screening during employment will be carried out by an independent company that uses proven scientific methods.
- This screening is carried out by the Testing Company on a number of staff selected at random each year and may occur at any time or times in that year
‘FOR CAUSE’ TESTING/ RIGHT OF SEARCH
- Any accident, incident, or occurrence where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that it was due to the acts or omissions of an employee, and where drugs and alcohol may be a contributory factor, may culminate in the testing of that employee for drugs or alcohol. ‘For Cause’ testing can also arise when there is reasonable suspicion that an employee has been misusing alcohol or drugs.
- Where testing takes place the individual will be expected to sign a written consent to be tested. Failure to give consent, or refusal to supply the urine sample, will be considered to be a breach of these rules and may lead to disciplinary action being taken.
- The Employer reserves the right to search employees or any employee property held on The Employer’s premises or employees’ work spaces or their company car at any time if The Employer has reasonable grounds to believe that the prohibition on substances is being or has been infringed.
- If an employee refuses to comply with the search procedure, such refusal will normally be treated as amounting to gross misconduct and will entitle The Employer to take disciplinary action up to and including summary dismissal.
OUTCOME OF TESTING
- If, having undergone a medical examination, it is confirmed that the employee has been positively tested for drugs and/or alcohol, or the employee admits to having a drug and/or alcohol problem, The Employer reserves the right to suspend the employee from work on full pay to allow it to decide whether to deal with the matter under the terms of the disciplinary procedure or to refer the employee for treatment and rehabilitation.
- If you have an alcohol or drugs problem, you must speak to a doctor or qualified medical practitioner and inform your supervisor. If you are receiving treatment for rehabilitation and refuse to attend or continue with your treatment you may be dismissed.
- Absence for treatment and rehabilitation will be regarded as normal sickness.
- The Employer recognise that relapses may occur. Further medical advice may be sought in an attempt to ascertain how much more treatment/rehabilitation time is likely to be required for a full recovery. At The Employer’s discretion, more treatment or rehabilitation may be given in order to help the employee to recover fully. However, where any employee, having received treatment, suffers a relapse such relapse may be considered to be an act of Gross Misconduct, and may result in Summary Dismissal.
- This policy will be monitored and reviewed regularly in consultation with employees.
- The Employer assures all employees that any drug or alcohol problem will be treated in strict confidence, subject to the provisions of the law.
- The Employer encourages any employee with an alcohol or drug problem to seek help voluntarily.
- The Employer is committed to providing employees with general information about the effects of drugs and alcohol on health and safety. This information is provided for information only, and nothing in this section reduces employee’s obligations under this policy.
- Depressants, Stimulants and Hallucinogens are covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in which they are classified as either Class A, B or C (as defined in Schedule 2 to the Act).
- Opiates such as Heroin, Morphine and Opium are in this category and are either sniffed, swallowed, smoked or injected. These drugs are also classed as narcotics and are classified as Class A. Use of these drugs can lead to increased tolerance leading to both physical and psychological dependency. Sustained use of these drugs can cause a user to centre his lifestyle on the drug’s procurement and use.
- Cannabis is usually smoked or eaten, and short-term effects can lead to loss of concentration and slowed reactions leading to impaired work performance. Longer-term effects can result in psychological dependence, respiratory problems, and lung cancer.
- Amphetamines are sniffed, swallowed, or injected. These increase pulse rate and blood pressure. Use can result in anxiety and panic and increasing risk of both emotional and physical dependence with increasing use. Chronic effects can also lead to a reduced resistance to infection and a loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
- Cocaine, and its derivatives, is sniffed, smoked, or injected. Use can lead to psychosis and delusions. Repeated use can lead to high risk of dependence. Extreme effects can be encountered when using cocaine when prepared as crack such as heart failure or heart attack.
- These can include Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and hallucinogenic amphetamines (MDMA, Ecstasy). These drugs are generally ingested and effects can range from anxiety and panic to extreme perceptual disorders leading to reckless behaviour.
- Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust) can be sniffed or smoked and can lead to irregular breathing, hallucinations in the short term and severe depression and psychosis coupled with violent behaviour.
- Barbiturates are swallowed as capsules or injected. These can produce a high risk of dependence especially when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
- Magic mushrooms can be eaten fresh or prepared by drying or brewing like tea for swallowing. The hallucinogenic effects shown are similar to those given by LSD.
- Solvents are volatile drugs that can include cigarette lighter fluids (and associated hydrocarbons), cleaning fluids, adhesives and aerosol preparations. Misuse of these items can lead to severe intoxication and disorientation with increasing risk of heart and brain damage with increasing use.
MEDICINES/ RESTRICTED DRUGS
- Prescribed drugs can be misused. These are drugs that have been prescribed by a Medical Practitioner or have been obtained through a pharmacist, which can have considerable health risks if misused, especially if used in conjunction with other types of drugs.
- Examples of medicines/prescribed drugs can be Tranquillisers such as Benzodiazepines (e.g.: Diazepam, Valium (Diazepam), Librium, Activan, Serenid, Normisson) which can be swallowed or injected. These drugs have severe risks of both physical and psychological dependence.
- Other examples can be Anti-Depressants, Sleeping Pills and some medicines such as remedies for coughs and colds.
- All drinks containing alcohol such as beer, wine, spirits and including so called “low alcohol” products are included in this category.
- Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and is carried to all parts of the body including the brain. It affects the part of the brain, which controls judgement and physical co-ordination. Excessive and regular consumption can result in dependency and can lead to the medical condition of alcoholism based on the tolerance to the alcohol and the inability by the individual to limit intake. Nausea and vomiting can occur from an excess of alcohol and very large doses can lead to poisoning or death from inhalation or suffocation.
- Chronic effects of heavy, sustained use are alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer and other liver diseases. The risks of other diseases such as coronary heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure are also compounded by high usage. Alcoholics face a higher risk of developing stomach complaints such as peptic ulcers as well as suffering from psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression and irreversible mental deterioration.
- You should avoid consuming alcohol in the eight hours preceding work
- You must be aware that the number of alcohol units consumed can be cumulative, e.g. four units can be broken down by the body in eight hours but twelve units can take 24 hours. Every person is different, and the consumption of food does not affect the level of alcohol in the body.