Document Sample
					Alcohol and Drugs at Work
               January 2004

Salisbury District Council recognises and endorses the view that the sensible use of alcohol is acceptable to
most people in our society. It is also recognised that the excessive consumption of alcohol and
inappropriate use of drugs (illegal or prescribed) can have a mental and physical effect on users and that for
some, this will cause problems in one or more areas of their life. The aims of this policy are as follows:

1        To offer assistance to employees who suspect or know they or their colleagues have an alcohol or
         drug related problem and to encourage positive action to obtain help.

2        To provide a framework within which an employee with an alcohol or drug related problem may be
         dealt with in an effective, sympathetic and understanding manner.

3        To prevent and reduce the incidence of work impairment due to inappropriate drug and alcohol use.

4        To ensure that employees are aware that inappropriate use of alcohol and/or drugs is a serious
         matter and may lead to dismissal (either as misconduct under the Disciplinary Procedure or as lack
         of capability to perform the duties of the contract of employment under the Capability Procedure).

Scope of the Policy

This policy is applicable to all employees of Salisbury District Council and is designed to help employees
with an on-going alcohol or drug related problem. The scope of the policy extends to inappropriate use of
alcohol and drugs outside of working hours where it impacts on work performance.

Employees who, because of their inappropriate use of alcohol or drugs in an isolated incident behave in a
manner contrary to the standard of conduct expected by Salisbury District Council, or are assessed by their
Manager as being unfit to carry out their duties will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure.

The Disciplinary Procedure may also be invoked when, because of alcohol or drugs an employee behaves in
a manner contrary to standards of safety required.

The Role of the Manager

The role of the manager can be summarised as follows:

   to be aware of the possible signs of an alcohol or drug related problem (see appendix 1)
   to inform employees of the policy
   to encourage employees to seek help voluntarily
   to advise employees of their rights and responsibilities
   to support the employees at work and assist with rehabilitation
   to ensure that appropriate and timely action is taken (this could include disciplinary action).

The Role of the Employee

   to be aware of the effects of alcohol and drugs on work and health and to ensure that their use is
    appropriate and sensible
   to urge colleagues to seek help if they appear to have a problem with their drinking or drug use
   to seek help from managers, personnel staff, occupational health staff or an outside agency either
    voluntarily or when advised
   to seek help from their manager, personnel and training services or the occupational health adviser if
    they are worried about a colleague’s welfare in relation to alcohol and/or drugs.

Alcohol on Council Premises

Employees must not consume alcohol while at work, except in very specific circumstances eg Christmas
celebrations or farewell events. Even these occasions should be timed so that employees (especially those
dealing direct with the public and those operating machinery) do not return to work having recently
consumed alcohol. When alcohol is to be served at meetings and other official events carried out in the
Council’s name, low alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks will also be available.

Employees are also strongly advised not to consume alcohol immediately prior to starting work. It should be
noted that the effects of heavy drinking the previous night can last well into the next day. The Health
Education Authority suggests that men who regularly drink more than 4 units per day and women who
regularly drink more that 3 units per day are increasing the risk to their health. 1 unit = either half a pint of
ordinary strength lager/beer/cider or a 25ml pub measure of spirit or a small glass of wine.

This policy allows for more stringent arrangements to be adopted by individual Service Units where there
may be danger of breaking the law or a health and safety risk. Examples are given as follows:

   Posts which involve the postholder in driving (either Council-owned vehicles or personal vehicles). The
    consumption of alcohol/taking of drugs/substances under such circumstances could constitute a health
    and safety risk and potentially, be a breach of the law.
   Posts which, for health and safety reasons, require total vigilance, either to protect the individual
    postholder, members of the public or other persons with whom the postholder comes into contact
    (examples could include the operation of machinery, climbing ladders, supervision of potentially
    dangerous sports and care of vulnerable people).
   Employees who are on standby for call-out to emergencies etc where failure to respond could cause a
    breach of health and safety requirements, and/or the Council to fail to fulfil a contractual/legal obligation

Before introducing special arrangements regarding the consumption of alcohol the Service Unit Head must
consult with the relevant Trades Union(s). All employees affected must be notified in writing of the specific
rules applicable to them and the consequences of breaking those rules.

Drugs and Substances at Work

Where employees have been prescribed medication which may affect their work performance or where such
medication may cause drowsiness or require the employee to refrain from driving/operating machinery,
employees must notify their manager in order that alternative arrangements can be made for the duration of
the course of medication.

The Council forbids the use by all employees of all illegal and non-prescribed drugs and the inappropriate
use of substances whilst on duty. Employees are strongly advised not to use illegal drugs or substances
particularly when the effects could continue into their working time. Examples of illegal drugs are: heroin,
cocaine, cannabis/marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines. Examples of substances are: glue and solvents.
The lists of examples are not exhaustive.

It is an offence for an individual to possess or supply illegal drugs. It is also an offence illegally to supply
prescribed drugs. Any reasonable suspicion of an employee undertaking such an activity will be reported to
the police. The Council would also be committing a criminal offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act if it knew
that illegal drugs were being used, kept or supplied on its premises.

Procedure for dealing with a Suspected Alcohol or Drug Related Problem

1       When it is suspected that an employee has an alcohol or drug related problem the manager should
        arrange to hold a meeting with the individual. The purpose of the meeting should be to establish
        agreement with the employee that problems exist with his/her work and their view of the nature and
        reasons behind the problem. The employee should be allowed to be accompanied at this meeting
        by a workplace colleague or Trade Union representative. (Please see appendix 2 for guidelines on
        conducting such meetings.)

2   If the employee accepts that there is an alcohol or drug related problem and is willing to undergo
    treatment, then he/she will be referred to the Occupational Health Adviser.

3   The Occupational Health Adviser will determine whether the employee should take sick leave or
    remain at work during a course of treatment. If the Occupational Health Adviser recommends
    attendance at work but the Line Manager feels that this is inappropriate then special leave on full
    pay may be granted. The health and safety of the employee concerned and other employees and
    clients of Salisbury District Council will be paramount when making this decision. The decision will
    be reviewed periodically during the course of treatment. An employee who is not satisfied with a
    decision to place him/her on special may invoke the Council’s grievance procedure.

4   At all times the confidential nature of any records of employees with alcohol or drug related problems
    will be strictly preserved. No individual or agency involved in the diagnosis and treatment of an
    employee should disclose any details of the situation without the employee’s written permission.

5   On completion of a course of treatment the employee should be examined by the Occupational
    Health Adviser to determine whether he/she is fit to work. If the medical advice recommends that
    the employee is not fit to work then the matter will be dealt with under the capability procedure.

6   Following a course of treatment if there is reason to believe that an employee has reverted to a
    dependence on alcohol and/or drugs and this is having a detrimental effect on their performance or
    conduct then the appropriate capability or disciplinary procedure will be applied.

7   Similarly if an employee does not accept that there is a problem, then the matter will be dealt with by
    using the capability procedure relating to sub-standard work or the disciplinary procedure relating to
    misconduct, whichever is applicable in the circumstances.

                                                                                                     Appendix 1

Possible Signs indicating the presence of an Alcohol or Drug Related Problem

There is no single characteristic that identifies these problems. Drugs and alcohol are only two of the many
possible reasons for deteriorating job efficiency. If the following characteristics occur in combination or as a
pattern over a period of time, it may indicate the presence of an alcohol or drug related problem:


       multiple instances of unauthorised leave
       excessive sick leave including frequent self-certificated leave
       frequent Monday and/or Friday absences (or days immediately preceding or following days off)
       excessive lateness, eg Monday mornings, returning from meal breaks
       leaving work early
       peculiar and increasingly improbable excuses for absences
       usually high absenteeism rate for diarrhoea, colds, influenza, gastritis, backache, depression
       unscheduled short-term absences, with or without explanation.

High Accident Rate

       frequent accidents at work
       accidents elsewhere, eg at home, travelling to work

Difficulty in Concentrating

       work requires greater effort
       tasks take more time


       difficulty in recalling instructions
       increasing difficulty in handling complex assignments
       difficulty recalling own mistakes

Spasmodic Work Patterns

       alternate periods of high and low productivity
       increasing general unreliability and unpredictability
       repeated absences from post/workstation, more than the job requires
       frequent trips to the cloakroom, or elsewhere
       overlong lunch breaks

Reporting to Work under the Influence of Alcohol

       coming to work in an obviously inebriated condition
       smelling of alcohol
       hand tremors
       increasingly unkempt appearance/lack of personal hygiene.
                                                                                                   Appendix 2

Guidelines for Managers Dealing with an Employee’s Suspected Alcohol or Drug Related Problem

1      Preparing for the Initial Meeting

              plan the structure of the meeting in advance
              arrange for the interview to take place in private and where there is no danger of interruption
              have all relevant documentation ready
              have information on referral agencies to hand, eg Alcoholics Anonymous, Occupational
               Health information (see Appendix 3)
              the employee should be allowed to be accompanied at this meeting by a workplace
               colleague or Trade Union representative. NB If the employee chooses to be accompanied
               then it may be advisable for the manager to invite a member of Personnel and Training
               Services also to attend.

2      Style of Meeting

       This should be that of a discussion leading to an agreement rather than a formal interview. The
       emphasis should be on cultivating a supportive and non-judgemental approach.

3      The Meeting

              explain the reason for the meeting
              restrict the discussion to issues concerning work attitude and performance
              do not accuse the employee of having a ‘drink or drugs problem’
              if problems are denied, the consequences of the unacceptable performance or attitude
               should be explained and an indication given that disciplinary or capability action will be taken
              end the meeting with an agreement on specific action:
               - a referral to the Occupational Health Adviser
               - an understanding of what has to improve
               - an understanding of what you will do next
               - a review date
              keep a detailed, confidential record of the interview.

4      Referral

       If the employee acknowledges that there is an alcohol problem, he/she should be referred to the
       Occupational Health Adviser.

       If the employee does not acknowledge that there is an alcohol problem, then the matter should be
       dealt with by using the capability procedure relating to sub-standard work or the disciplinary
       procedure relating to misconduct, whichever is applicable in the circumstances.
                                                                                                        Appendix 3

Some Useful Telephone Numbers

Salisbury Alcohol & Drug Advisory Service:   01722 412632

Alcoholics Anonymous:                        01380 729064

Narcotics Anonymous:                         07041 580050

National Drug Helpline:                      0800 77 66 00

National Drinkline:                          0800 917 8282

Occupational Health Adviser
(available Tuesdays 9.15 am – 1.00 pm)       ext 684

                                                                                                    January 2004
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