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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

• Whether you’re an employer with legal responsibilities or a caring colleague, drugs and alcohol misuse www.thedrugsbook.com

can quickly become a serious concern in the workplace

• How do you know if drug or alcohol misuse is becoming a problem in your workplace? • Look for changes in time-keeping, job performance, relationships, accidents and theft • As well as an increase in short-term absences... watch out for those unexpected long week-ends! • These signs are only indicators of possible drink or drug misuse... they may be also caused by stress at work or through individual circumstances

STAFF CARE

• Drug or alcohol misuse can become a serious problem at work... not just for the individuals involved • Accidents will always be a big concern if people are using equipment while intoxicated • Absenteeism creates strains for all staff... productivity can also be affected by poorer performance • Opportunities exist to increase morale if an employee is treated fairly and with support once drug

or drink misuse is confirmed... many employers are keen to act responsibly and to be known for doing so

• Dismissal for drugs misuse is expensive in terms of recruitment and training... it is not necessary with the

right approach

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LEGAL ISSUES

• The workplace has a legal framework in addition to the public laws which govern all of us • Employers are not responsible for staff behaviour outside of the workplace... as long as they are not working while intoxicated... but staff do not need to suffer due to a colleague's drug misuse

• Staff can expect employers to have a legitimate interest in drug misuse... if it impacts on performance... causes accidents... or we might expect exemplary behaviour... such as the police or armed forces

• It is not recommended that employers have an interest in staff activities outside of these circumstances ... because the relationship is not primarily of care... so intervention approaches can become intrusive

• An employer has a duty to ‘to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities’... stress at work is often reported as a cause of problem drinking

• Employers need to assess the risks to all staff under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and could be prosecuted if they knowingly allow people to work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

• An employer breaks the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 if they knowingly allow the production or supply of controlled drugs on the premises... some other drug-related activities are also covered

• Transport & Works Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence for some staff to be unfit through drugs or alcohol whilst working on railways or trams for example... the employers may be held responsible if they have not taken steps to stop this happening

• Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places responsibilities on employers to protect and care for staff

WORKPLACE 93

The Drugs Book  

The Drugs Book is an advice and help guide to the misuse of drugs aimed at teenagers and other educational providers

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