Most of us would probably think that there wasn’t a problem with drugs in our workplaces. However, the Office of National Statistics found that in 2018 around 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a drug in the last year, and around 1 in 25 had taken a Class A drug.
It’s important as an employer to be informed and have a robust and workable policy. Drugs and Alcohol consumption outside of work becomes a problem when it impacts on the employees’ attendance or performance at work. It may also have an impact if their role is safety critical, has a safeguarding element or impacts on members of the public. Then it does become a problem for you as an employer.
Why do people take drugs?
People take drugs for lots of reasons, sometimes to have fun and socialise, sometimes to escape underlying issues they may have such as anxiety. Some people are curious or just want to try and fit in with friends or peers. Others are prescribed medication for a genuine health reason and find they then cannot stop.
Employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees while at work. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drugs to work and their behavior places the employee or others at risk the employer could be prosecuted.
Before you implement a policy, you need to make sure that you are informed and then consult and inform your employees of the policy. Seek advice on what you don’t know and be sure you will follow through consistently with your policy before you implement it.
To find out more about drugs and how to manage it in the workplace take a look at our forthcoming training sessions.
It started with a spliff – Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training
Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training for Managers