Chalk Newton Geoscience are committed to providing a safe, healthy, and productive working environment for all employees, contractors, customers and visitors involved in it’s operation. This policy sets out our aims in reducing and managing alcohol and drug problems in the workplace. Alcohol and drug problems are associated with a wide variety of costs for employers and employees. These costs include ill-health sickness absence, reduced work performance, and accidents. Consumption of drugs and alcohol (including prescription and over the counter drugs) or intoxication during working hours implicates the health and safety of the individual and others, since these substances impair coordination, judgement, and decision making. Irresponsible behaviour resulting from the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol may damage our reputation and/or business, and as such, is a policy matter.
Alcohol abuse – we define alcohol abuse as any drinking, either intermittent or continual, which interferes with health and/or social functioning and/or work capability or conduct.
Drug – we define drugs as illegal, prescribed and over the counter medicines and solvents. In the case of prescribed and over the counter drugs, we recognise that their possession and use by the employee is legitimate.
Drug abuse – we define drug abuse as the use of illegal drugs, the deliberate misuse
of prescribed or over the counter drugs, and the use of solvents, either intermittent or continuous, which interfere with health and/or social functioning and/or work capability or conduct.
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, we recognise the duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of employees and others who are (or may be) affected by their activities, as far as is reasonably practicable, and we are committed to taking measures to ensuring this safety. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, we will carry out a risk assessment to identify workplace hazards and put measures in place to minimise these risks. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971), it is illegal for anyone, to produce, supply or be in possession of illegal drugs. Employers may be liable if they knowingly allow an employee, customer, or service user to dispense, manufacture, possess, use or sell drugs on their premises.
We require all employees to come to work free from the effects of alcohol and drugs. Working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or consuming alcohol or drugs during hours of work, including paid and unpaid breaks, is unacceptable behaviour. Employees found in possession of illegal drugs or using illegal drugs while at work will normally be reported to the police. If the legitimate use of prescribed drugs is likely to affect job performance and safety, employees should inform their line manager immediately.
We are committed to promoting health and welfare at work. We are able to provide employees with information on safe and sensible drinking and the risks associated with drug use. We can disseminate this information via written materials and email communication. New staff will be made aware of this policy during the induction and will be sent a copy with their contract of employment. This policy will be sent to all staff during induction and will thereafter be freely available.
Identifying a problem
Substance misuse may become apparent through a number of signs. The following list of signals (particularly in combination) could indicate an issue. This list is not exhaustive.
- Persistent short-term absence.
- Frequent unauthorised absence.
- Recurrent small accidents.
- Poor time keeping.
- Inconsistency in work performance.
- A breakdown in working relations.
- Deterioration in physical appearances, such as dental problems/weight loss.
These factors can have a number of other causes, and we encourage managerial staff to use all the information at their disposal and intellectual discretion to identify a potential problem. Colleagues may be the first to notice when an employee is misusing substances. If a member of staff suspects an alcohol or drug problem in a colleague, they should either i) encourage the person to seek help from support agencies or ii) report the matter to a manager.
Our policy is principally concerned with ongoing issues of substance misuse. We class these as “capability issues” as the problem will primarily impact how the individual performs their job. In circumstances where an employee breaches the policy on an individual case, such as reporting for work drunk or being under the influence of drugs at work, we will class this behaviour as a conduct issue and handle it via the normal disciplinary procedures. If an employee, for example, is violent at work while under the influence of any substance or deals illicit substances at work or any other very serious incident, we will consider this serious misconduct and are justified in summary dismissal. If an employee admits to having a substance misuse problem, the disciplinary process may be held in abeyance. This will be subject to the successful outcome of treatment and improvement of performance/job capability. If the employee subsequently admits to a substance misuse problem following an instance of serious misconduct, we may carry out the support route and the disciplinary route in tandem.
Employees who suspect or know they have a drug or alcohol problem are encouraged to seek support at an early stage. In such instances, we recognise that it is up to the discretion of individuals regarding informing their line managers.
Referral by Management
Managers will offer support to employees who are suspected of having an alcohol or drug problem. If the problem has become apparent because of a decline in work performance, management will place the employee on a performance improvement plan where the employee will be required to demonstrate improvement and satisfactory completion of the support programme. If performance does not improve, disciplinary action will be taken. We will give employees the opportunity to attend treatment within work time. If an employee is absent, normal sick pay arranges will apply.
All appropriate staff, such as occupational health and human resources, must maintain confidentiality for any employee who is experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol. Appropriate staff must not divulge information regarding individual cases to third parties. Information can only be divulged in cases where safety would be compromised by not doing so.
We acknowledge that relapse is common with alcohol and drug problems and, in normal circumstances, we will support employees through two relapses after treatment. We will treat subsequent relapses on a case-by-case basis. During any review, we will take into account the needs of the department and the business needs of the organisation. Managers should make sure that employees are aware that disciplinary procedures may begin following subsequent relapses.
Return to Work
After the successful completion of treatment, the company will try to make sure that the employee returns to their existing role. However, if the employee is unable to fulfil their required duties, we will consider alternatives duties. The completion of treatment will not affect promotional prospects taking into account the needs of the department and the business needs of the organisation. Managers should make sure that employees are aware that disciplinary procedures may begin following subsequent relapses.
This policy applies equally to all staff regardless of grade, experience, or role within the company.
Monitoring and Review
This policy will be subject to monitoring to review how the policy works in practice. We will review this policy in twelve months. In compliance with the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act (1998), we will give all staff twelve weeks’ notice of any changes to this policy.
Last update: July 2020.