Key elements of a workplace substance misuse policy

10 December 2007
Key elements of a workplace substance misuse policy

A model workplace policy on substance misuse may cover the following:

Aims A statement on why the policy exists and who it applies to. (Note: Best practice would be for the policy to apply equally to all staff, including managers, and cover all types of work).

Responsibility Who is responsible for carrying out the policy. (Note: all managers and supervisors will be responsible in some way, but it is more effective if a senior employee is named as having overall responsibility).

Definitions Key definitions which need to be included (e.g. substance misuse to include alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed and over the counter medicines and solvents; company premises; working hours)

The Rules Clearly stated to ensure employees know precisely what is and is not allowed.

Special Circumstances Are there exceptions, for example Christmas parties, staff social events, company celebrations where employees may be allowed to consume alcohol. If so, are there limits on consumption?

Confidentiality A statement that information will be treated in strict confidence, subject to the provisions of the law.

Help A statement encouraging those with a problem to seek help voluntarily, and a description of the support available.

Information A commitment to providing information to all employees on the effects of alcohol and drug misuse, and how they can jeopardise the health, safety and welfare of the workforce, and damage the profitability of the Company.

Discipline The circumstances in which disciplinary action will be taken. You might:

• Explain that if help is refused and/or impaired performance continues, disciplinary action is likely.
• Explain that dismissal action may be taken in cases of gross misconduct.
• State that possession/dealing will be reported immediately to the police and that there is no alternative to this procedure.

Source: Ark for Business

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