A health policy is a written arrangement developed, agreed and adopted by organisations, that outlines employers’ guiding principles and procedures for promoting employee health, safe working practices and complies with health and safety law.
It is also important that employers recognise that there may be ways to address problems of alcohol or drug misuse that could not only help an individual to overcome their addiction, but also tackle other underlying factors that are causing it.
Model Alcohol Policy – 2009
Developed by the Scottish Government & Alcohol Industry Partnership in conjunction with the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.
Alcohol policy implementation
Drug and alcohol policies may be separate or combined documents.
A clear statement of the need for a policy to protect the health of employees.
- Specific reference to the health and safety risk posed by alcohol and drugs and the health consequences of alcohol and drug misuse.
- Reference to respective legislation.
- The definition of alcohol and drug misuse.
- Clear guidance on the organisation’s parameters, rules and procedures for dealing with issues relating to alcohol and drug use, and guidelines relating to misconduct and breaches of the policy.
- A clear statement that employees are not allowed to work when affected by alcohol or controlled drugs, and guidance on prescription drugs which may affect their behaviour and/or work.
- Clear procedures for dealing with employees whose work performance is adversely affected by alcohol or drugs.
- If the policy includes testing for alcohol or drugs, specific reference should be made to the testing procedures and circumstances in which testing will be carried out.
- Communication of policy rules to all staff.
- Equity across all levels of staff regardless of status.
- Education on the impact of alcohol and drugs in the workplace.
- Promotion of sensible drinking as part of a healthier lifestyle.
- Training for managers who are responsible for enforcement.
- Details of support available to employees who are identified as having a drug and/or alcohol problem including how to access this support.
- Adhere to best practice when dealing with disciplinary cases involving alcohol or drugs.
- Implementation date and details of the monitoring and review process.
- The maintenance of strict confidentiality, which is fundamental to a policy.
For more information please check out Health Scotlands Simple Guide: Alcohol and drugs in the workplace
Employers and employees are required by law to address the issue of alcohol and drugs in the workplace.
- Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Transport and Works Act 1992
- Road Traffic Act 1988
- Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
The Health & Safety Executive have published two reports:
These documents address the benefits to employers and businesses by successfully tackling alcohol & drugs misuse in the workplace.
The HSE point out:
“You have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of your employees.”
The HSE encourage employers to create a ‘policy on drug misuse’ as part of their organisation’s overall Health & Safety policy.
According to the World Health Organisation global action plan, every employee should have access to a health consultation service at work.