Drugs and alcohol misuse is estimated to cost UK businesses £8 billion a year, and many employers fail to have a robust policy to tackle, this growing problem. There is a view that many company executives have failed to grasp the seriousness of drugs and alcohol misuse in the workplace, arguing that it has nothing to do with them and so fail to put a suitable policy in place. Drug and alcohol abuse causes lost production leading to excessive absenteeism, or in extreme cases, even death in the workplace. This can open up a company to a possible charge of manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act and other sanctions under various Health & Safety Regulations.
I am constantly surprised by the attitude of some employers to this issue. Not only does it have an effect on the person who is ‘using’ at work, but also has a knock on effect with their colleagues in many aspects of their employment. For example does the ‘user’ drive one of your vehicles? What about the danger that your ‘user’ (your employee) puts members of the public in when they’re under the influence and the cost of an investigation into a serious or fatal collision because of their actions, Circa £1.5m. What about the potential threat to other employess? Your business?
Drugs and Alcohol at Work
If you don’t have a drugs and alcohol policy you need to think seriously about getting one, if you do, when did you last review it? I wouldn’t like to think about the consequences for you and your company if it all goes horribly dark!
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