1.1 Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (“the Act”), all employers have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other persons using company premises. The Act also places a general duty on employees to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and of any other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions whilst at work. Alcohol and drug misuse affects performance, conduct and relationships at work and at home. Employees who develop alcohol or drug related problems cause harm to themselves and to others.
1.2 The company aims to ensure a working environment free from the inappropriate use of alcohol and drugs where employees are able to carry out their duties in a safe and efficient manner without impairment. This policy is designed to prevent and treat problems created in the workplace by inappropriate alcohol consumption and drug usage. This policy applies to all employees within the company and to all agents, contractors, consultants and any other individual working for, or on behalf of, the company.
1.3 The Transport and Works Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence to carry out certain work whilst unfit to do so through drink or drugs. This policy has been written to comply with this Act. All employees and contractors must therefore understand the implications of using drugs and alcohol and abuse of other substances and consequently the need to observe the rules and procedures set out below and associated documents.
2 POLICY AIMS
- To safeguard employees and others from the hazards of alcohol and drug abuse.
- To encourage employees who suspect or know that they have an alcohol or a drug problem to seek help at an early stage.
- To provide help and support to those with an alcohol or a drug related problem.
3.1 Alcohol abuse is defined as a level of drinking which persistently affects an employee’s work. This is regarded as an illness.
3.2 Drug abuse is defined as the taking of an illicit or other chemical substance into the body in an unprescribed manner. For the purposes of this policy the term “drug” includes:
3.2.1 Substances covered by the Medicines Act 1968 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (referred to as “controlled drugs”, some examples of which are ~ Heroin, Cannabis, Ecstasy, Amphetamines etc;
3.2.2 Prescribed and over-the-counter drugs some examples of which are ~ Tranquillisers, Anti-depressants, Sleeping Pills, some Anti histamines for hay fever and some medicines for coughs, colds and indigestion;
3.2.3 Alcohol, glue, solvents and any other such substances.
4 RULES ABOUT THE USE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
4.1 Employees must not consume alcohol at all during working hours, including during meal-breaks or before work whenever work performance will be adversely affected.
4.2 Employees must not use drugs during working hours or before work whenever work performance will be adversely affected. Employees who are prescribed by their doctor drugs that may affect their ability to work or drugs purchased over the counter such as Night Nurse, Benylin Expectorant, etc should inform their manager. Any such disclosure, prior to alcohol and drug screening, will be dealt with as a health problem, however such disclosure on the day of alcohol and drug screening will be treated as a disciplinary matter, even if the individual is not selected for testing on that day.
4.3 Possessing, using or supplying controlled drugs at work is prohibited. The company is obliged to comply with the Misuse of Drugs Act and notify the police if any such activity (including reasonable suspicion of it) takes place on Company or our Client’s premises.
4.4 Any breaches of this policy will be dealt with under the company’s disciplinary procedure.
5 SELECTION FOR TESTING
5.1 For Cause – Following a specific safety related incident. Specific safety related incidents are those resulting in, or having the potential for fatality, or major injury, any other injury or having the potential for major damage.
5.2 Suspicion of Influence – Any individual whose appearance or behaviour makes management suspect that they are at their place of work having taken drugs, illegal substances or alcohol, will be identified for testing.
5.3 Unannounced Testing – A programme of unannounced testing will be implemented to achieve a target to test all staff at least twice per annum.
6 MEDICAL EXAMINATION
6.1 If the company has reason to believe that an employee’s work performance or conduct has been impaired through drug or alcohol abuse, the company will immediately invoke an investigation under its disciplinary procedure which may result in the employee’s dismissal depending on the findings. In investigating the incident, the employee may be required to undergo a medical examination to determine if there is an ongoing drug or alcohol problem or addiction or if there is any medicial information that would assist the investigation.
6.2 If, after a medical examination, an employee is found to have no underlying drug or alcohol problem, the company will continue to deal with the matter under its disciplinary procedure.
6.3 If, after a medical examination, it is confirmed that the employee has an alcohol or a drug related problem, or the employee admits to having such a problem, the company reserves the right to suspend the employee from work on full pay to allow the company to decide whether to deal with the matter under the terms of the disciplinary procedure.
7.1 Alcohol Testing – A proprietary electronic test meter will be used. The individual will be asked to sign a consent form and the test will be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s specific instructions and will be conducted by trained staff.
7.2 Drug Testing – The individual will be asked to sign a consent form prior to providing a urine sample. This urine sample will be tested by trained staff using the Surescreen Multipanel Drug Test or be sent to an independent testing laboratory. On Network Rail projects the person tested will not be allowed to return to work until a negative result is obtained from the independent testing laboratory.
7.3 Failure to give consent, or refusal to supply a urine sample or breath sample, will be considered to be a breach of these rules and will be dealt with under the procedures set out in Clause 9.
8.1 Alcohol – The alcohol concentration limit will be :-
13 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
8.2 Drugs – A positive result will be deemed to be a trace of any illegal or non prescribed drug as detected by the Surescreen Multipanel Drug Test, or similar test kit, or by an independent laboratory test.
8.3 Persons tested have the right to challenge a positive result and, at their own option and expense, have a separate confirmation test made.
9 DISCIPLINARY ACTION
9.1 Alcohol – If the level of alcohol is at or below the levels determined in 8.1, the individual will be permitted to return to their place of work. If the level of alcohol is above the level determined in 8.1 the individual will be asked to leave their place of work for the remainder of the day. All instances providing positive results shall result in a disciplinary action on the individual’s return to work.
9.2 Drugs – In the event of a positive result as defined in 8.2 it will be treated as gross misconduct and the individual will be instantly removed from work involving risk pending a confirmatory laboratory test result, and dismissed from employment if confirmed positive.
10 REFERRAL PROCEDURES
The company will promote an environment in which those with alcohol or drug related problems are encouraged to obtain guidance and advice. Names and addresses of specialist agencies are available, in confidence, from the Operations Manager. Referral to specialist agencies will always be with the agreement of the employee with the alcohol or drug problem and self-referral may be the most effective way of addressing the problem.
10.1.1 Employees who believe that they have an alcohol or a drug problem are encouraged to seek specialist advice. Specialist advice is available from an employee’s GP or local agencies. An employee may also discuss the matter with their manager in complete confidence. In appropriate cases, the manager will arrange for the employee to see a doctor, counsellor or some other professionally qualified person.
10.1.2 Any time off required for treatment will fall within the sick leave arrangements.
10.2 COMPANY REFERRAL
10.2.1 An employee’s manager may identify an employee as having poor health, attendance and work performance which may be due to a drug or an alcohol related problem (signs of drug and/or alcohol dependency are outlined in the Schedule). In these circumstances, the manager should arrange to discuss this with the employee concerned. The purpose of the discussion is to raise with the employee problems in his or her work performance.
10.2.2 While it is appropriate for the manager to raise questions about performance in the context of the employee’s use of alcohol or drugs, the employee has an absolute right to refuse to discuss the matter. If the employee does not wish the matter to be considered under this policy, it will be dealt with under the normal disciplinary procedures.
10.2.3 If the employee accepts that there may be aspects of his or her work performance that are alcohol or drug-related, the manager will offer assistance. Normally the matter will be passed to the Operations Manager for further action and in particular to contact the specialist agencies, but if the employee chooses, or if it appears to the manager more appropriate for them to take the lead, this will be acceptable.
10.2.4 Any employee who, as a result of company referral, is required to undertake a course of treatment that requires absence from work will be deemed to be absent from work on ill-health grounds. It may be recommended that relocation to a different area of work may enable the employee to remain at work.
10.3 REFERRAL OUTCOMES
10.3.1 Employees referred under these procedures accept and are accepted by the company as having had performance problems because of the misuse of alcohol or drugs. Any disciplinary action that might have been pending as a result of alcohol or drug related problems will be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the referral programme. If, as a result of the referral programme, the employee is able to sustain a return to working at an acceptable level of performance, references to pending disciplinary action will be deleted. The period of sustained evidence of a successful outcome of the referral programme will normally be two years.
10.3.2 Employees who embark on, but refuse to follow, the referral programme will be dealt with under the normal disciplinary procedure and will be instantly dismissed.
10.3.3 Employees who return to working at an acceptable standard but whose performance again deteriorates as a result of alcohol or drug related problems may, if appropriate, be given further opportunities under the referral procedures. It should be noted, however, that the opportunities to deal with problems created by alcohol or drug misuse under the referral procedures will not be unlimited. If an employee appears incapable of dealing with the problem, the company will take steps to terminate the employment on the grounds of capability and/or conduct.
11 ORGANISATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
11.1 Managers undertake to promote this policy and ensure its effective implementation. They should be alert to the signs of misuse of alcohol and drugs and deal with individual cases in accordance with this policy.
11.2 All employees are expected to take personal responsibility for their own alcohol consumption and/or drug use and to co-operate with management in assisting colleagues who have an alcohol or drug use problem.
11.3 The Company will periodically review this policy to ensure that it is being adhered to.
Director 1st December 2012