Some advice from the TUC on formulating a drugs policy:
Key elements of a policy
Any policy should address the following issues:
• It should make it clear who has overall responsibility for implementing the
• The policy should cover all employees, including senior managers.
• The employer should guarantee that any employees who seek help will be
treated in a non-judgemental supportive way and should guarantee
• A policy should outline when, if at all, alcohol can be consumed while at
work or on work premises.
• It will ensure that all managers are trained to spot the early signs of abuse
and there will be procedures to ensure that any problems are discussed
with staff at an early stage.
• Alcohol and drug misuse should be treated as a medical and not a
disciplinary matter. There will also be a recognition that in many cases
alcohol and drug use can lead to addiction which may require help.
• The policy should outline how employees can get assistance both within
the organisation and, if necessary, outside.
• It will stress that any requests for assistance or treatment will be treated
• The employer will consider making available alternative work where this
will help an employee’s rehabilitation.
• The policy will make it clear that absence for treatment and rehabilitation
will be regarded as normal sickness absence.
• There will be a recognition that staff may relapse.
• The policy will outline under what circumstances disciplinary action may
be taken. This may include where help is refused and performance is
consistently poor due to drug or alcohol abuse, or where a person comes to
work under the influence of drugs or alcohol and others are put at risk.
• The employer should undertake to run an information and awareness
campaign in support of the policy.
It is also important that any policy is regularly monitored and reviewed.
This was ‘Guidance for Workplace Representatives‘ regarding Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace that appeared in ‘Health and safety’ May 2010