DRUGS AND ALCOHOL POLICY

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1 DRUGS AND ALCOHOL POLICY Contents Page Number 1. Definition 1 2. Introduction 1 3. Legal Responsibility 1 4. Identifying A Problem 3 5. Policy Principles 3 6. Procedures 4 7. Other Issues 5 Appendices 1. Incident Handling Flowchart 6 2. Most Commonly Misused Substances 7 Human Resources 1

2 DRUGS AND ALCOHOL POLICY 1 DEFINITION The Drugs and Alcohol Policy has been developed to tackle problems associated with drugs and alcohol misuse in the workplace. The aim of the policy is to highlight the fact that the Council does not condone, or approve of, the excessive or inappropriate use of alcohol or prescribed illegal drugs or substance misuse whilst at work. The council will support where it can people who accept they are experiencing problems within this area. This does not apply in cases where an employee is unable to perform their duties satisfactorily as a result of an isolated incident of drug or alcohol misuse. The normal response in these cases will be to refer to the disciplinary procedure which could result in gross misconduct. 2 INTRODUCTION 2.1 The council has a legal obligation and is committed to ensuring the Health and Safety of all employees, other people who are required to work on its premises and/or within operations under their control. Therefore it is considered appropriate to operate and support an effective Drugs and Alcohol Policy. 2.2 The council will always encourage employees with alcohol or drug related problems to seek and accept help. The council recognises that substance misuse is primarily a health related problem requiring specialist help, and a willingness from the individual to accept this help. 2.3 Absence from work due to legitimate appointments with treatment agencies will be given the same consideration as time off due to hospital appointments. 2.4 Every case will be dealt with on an individual basis. 3 LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY 3.1 Employers and employees are expected to abide by the law. Employers can be prosecuted if they fail to take action once aware that controlled drugs are being used, supplied or produced on their premises. Employers are required to take action if an employee s behaviour is putting themselves and/or other people at risk. This helps create a safe and healthy working environment. Employees are required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who might be affected by their behaviour and to cooperate with employers. The legislation which refers to alcohol and the misuses of drugs are: The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 The principal legislation in the UK for controlling the misuse of drugs is the Misuse of Drugs Act Nearly all drugs with misuse and/or dependence liability are covered by it. The Act makes the production, supply and possession of these controlled drugs unlawful except in certain specified circumstances (for example when they have been prescribed by a doctor). If you knowingly permit the production or supply of any controlled drugs, Human Resources 2

3 the smoking of cannabis or certain other activities to take place on your premises you could be committing an offence. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Relations, 1992 The council has the responsibility to assess the risks to the Health and Safety of its employees. If the council knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and his or her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, they could be prosecuted. Our employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do at work. The Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 The council has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of your employees as far as is reasonably practicable. The Transport and Works Act of 1992 This act states that any person who is unfit to drive through drink or drugs shall be guilty of an offence. An offence is also committed if a person unfit through drink or drugs is in charge of a motor vehicle in the same circumstances. 3.2 The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 The Act lists the drugs that are subject to control and classifies them in three categories according to their relative harmfulness when misused. CLASS A - includes Ecstasy, Cocaine, Heroin, LSD, Mescaline, Methadone, Morphine, Opium and injectable forms of Class B drugs. CLASS B - includes oral preparations of Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Codeine and Methaqualone (Mandrax). CLASS C - includes most Benzodiazepines (eg Temazepam, Valium), other less harmful drugs of the Amphetamine group, Anabolic steroids Cannabis and Cannabis resin The penalties for offences involving controlled drugs depend on the classification of the drug. Penalties for misuse of Class A drugs are more severe than those for Class B drugs which in turn are more severe than the penalties for Class C drugs. The Act also distinguishes the penalties that may be imposed between the offences of possession and drug trafficking or supplying, with the latter attracting higher penalties. It is possible that in certain circumstances charges may be brought against an employer or an employee under either the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Health and Safety at Work Act or both. It would be up to the courts to decide on the circumstances of each case. A table showing the most commonly misused substances by adults in the UK appears Appendix Solvent Abuse at Work Where problems involve the deliberate or unintentional abuse of solvents whether or not used in the workplace, the person concerned will be covered by this policy. Where abused solvents are specifically work related, managers will ensure that the use of solvents has been subject to the provisions of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH Regulations). This ensures that the risks involved have Human Resources 3

4 been assessed and that reasonable measures have been taken to reduce all unnecessary exposures to solvents. 3.4 Prescribed Drugs Where problems involve the deliberate or intentional abuse of prescribed drugs, the person concerned will be covered by this policy. 4 IDENTIFYING A PROBLEM 4.1 All kinds of people can become involved in drugs, alcohol and substance misuse for all kinds of reasons, and they do not conform to any stereotypes. There are a number of signs/symptoms that may indicate a problem, which include: Poor timekeeping Absenteeism Decrease in job performance Over-confident and mood swings Reduction in response times and physical deterioration i.e. blurred eyes, hand tremors Memory lapses Inappropriate behaviour Irritable and possible aggression towards other people The smell of alcohol Unkempt appearance Theft These are just indicators and are for guidance only; other causes could trigger the above symptoms. 5 POLICY PRINCIPLES 5.1 Consumption of alcohol or drugs may affect an employee's ability to properly perform their job and may also endanger the health and safety of others. Employees are therefore required to advise their line manager or HR if they are taking prescribed drugs which may impair their performance in work. 5.2 Where appropriate Allerdale Borough Council will provide support internally and/or through external agencies to employees who seek help for a drug or alcohol problem. The Council reserves the right not to commence employment as part of the preemployment medical, if advised to do so by the Occupational Health provider. 5.3 Allerdale Borough Council reserves the right to refer someone to Occupational Health if they feel there may be a drugs and alcohol problem. If the individual fails to comply with the recommendations from Occupational Health or does not turn up for the appointment then the issue may be referred to disciplinary procedure. 5.4 The use, possession, distribution, purchase, sale and/or being under the influence of alcohol (except on authorised occasions, given by Chief Officers or Heads of Services) or any controlled drugs whilst at work or on Council property is prohibited and may be viewed as gross misconduct. Human Resources 4

5 5.5 Breach of this policy by an employee will be fully investigated and normally be dealt with under the Council's disciplinary procedure. Depending on the nature of the conduct the employee may be dismissed without notice. Employees would have the right to representation at all stages as per the disciplinary procedure. 6. PROCEDURES 6.1 Prevention and Rehabilitation The primary objectives of this policy are the prevention of the adverse affects of drugs and alcohol in the workplace and the early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of employees who have alcohol or drug-related problems Allerdale Borough Council will ensure that there are confidential means whereby employees can seek assistance and advice for any alcohol problem, whether by self-referral or at the request of the Council Employees should recognise that it is their responsibility and in their best interests to seek help at the earliest possible stage when treatment may be easier and before the problem affects work sufficiently to become a disciplinary matter If any employee with an alcohol or drug problem fails to comply with the recommendations of the agreed programme of treatment, immediate disciplinary action may be taken. Employees enrolled on a Recovery Programme will usually be subject to normal sickness/absence rules. 6.2 When Alcohol or Drugs is expected Where a line manager has reasonable cause to believe that the employee is suffering the effects of drugs or alcohol, the line manager will initiate the procedure shown in Appendix The individual may be suspended, depending on the seriousness of the situation and HR will be informed. HR will speak to the person concerned to establish if the individual has a drink and/or alcohol problem. HR will arrange an Occupational Health appointment if they feel it s necessary. If the individual admits there is no problem then a full investigation will be carried out, which could lead to a disciplinary and dismissal Occupational Health will work with the individual in order to establish an appropriate Recovery Contract If an employee refuses to co-operate with Occupation Health or attend an appointment arranged, the disciplinary policy will be instigated. 6.3 Dealing with the Recommendations Occupational Health will produce a report for HR on the individual. Human Resources 5

6 6.3.2 If the result is positive, the line manager will continue the investigation and medical advice will be sought If no drug or alcohol dependency is found or admitted, the Council's disciplinary procedure will be implemented and the Council may dismiss the employee depending on the seriousness of the conduct that gave rise to the investigation Allerdale Borough Council may alternatively, at its absolute discretion, treat the employee's alcohol or drug dependency as an illness. Where appropriate the employee will be offered support and access to treatment for rehabilitation. A formal Recovery Contract will be agreed. Any time off to attend rehabilitation will be treated as sickness absence but the employee will receive payment over and above statutory sick pay only at the Council's discretion The Occupational Health department will review the employee's fitness for work and liaise with external agencies (if applicable) to ensure that the employee is co-operating with the rehabilitation programme It is anticipated that most employees will complete rehabilitation successfully. However if the employee fails to complete the rehabilitation programme or fails any screening tests, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Council's disciplinary policy. Failure to complete rehabilitation successfully may be regarded as gross misconduct and may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 7 OTHER ISSUES 7.1 Allerdale Borough Council will not get involved in an employee's use of drugs or alcohol in their private life unless and until that use has an actual or potentially adverse effect upon the employee's performance of their duties or upon the best interests (principally name and reputation) of Allerdale Borough Council. In these circumstances the fact that the drug/alcohol abuse may be outside the working hours or off Council premises shall not prevent Allerdale Borough from taking action in response. 7.2 Help and Specialist Support For more information for people who are suffering from drugs, alcohol and substance misuse, please contact the below numbers: Alcoholics Anonymous, National Helpline Drinkline, free and confidential National Drugs Helpline Addaction Whitehaven Addaction Carlisle Addaction Cumbria Alcohol Family Support Turning Point Human Resources 6

7 Appendix 1 Incident Handling Flowchart Situation occurs which causes concerns for the line manager Informal interview held with the Line Manager to establish the facts/causes for concern Are drugs and/or alcohol contributory factors? Concerns could be the smell of alcohol from the individual or three or more of the following: Timekeeping, attendance at work, periods of absence whilst at work, attitude/behaviour towards colleagues, attitude/behaviour towards management, attitude/behaviour towards customers, general No Yes Possibly consider the capability procedure Was the incident a one off? Arrange and carry out review Yes No Has the issue been resolved? No Yes Speak to HR Possibly suspend the person, depending on the seriousness, and investigate, which could lead to disciplinary HR Section to be informed and arrange a referral to Occupational Health for assessment No further action required HR to receive the Assessment Report for Occupational Health Recovery Contract instigated Human Resources 7

8 MOST COMMONLY MISUSED SUBSTANCES IN THE UK Appendix 2 Name Effects Harmful Effects Legal Status Heroin Drowsiness, sense of warmth and well being Physical dependence, tolerance, overdose can lead to coma and even death. Sharing injecting equipment brings risk of HIV or hepatitis Class A Cocaine Crack Ecstasy Magic Mushroom Cannabis Barbiturates Amphetamines Benzodiazepines Anabolic steroids Sense of well being alertness and confidence Similar to those of snorted cocaine but initial feelings are much more intense Alert and energetic but with calmness and a sense of well-being towards others. Heightening sense of sound and colour Similar effects to those of LSD but the trip is often milder and shorter Relaxed, talkative state, heightened sense of sound and colour Calm and relaxed state, larger doses produce drunken effect Stimulates the nervous system wakefulness, feeling of energy and confidence. Makes people feel relaxed, and sleepy, also known as downers. With exercise can help build up muscle. However there is some debate about whether drug Human Resources 8 infection Dependence, restlessness, paranoia, damage to nasal membranes As for cocaine but because of its intensity crack use can be extremely hard to control, damage to lungs Possible nausea and panic, overheating and dehydrating if dancing, which can be fatal. Use has been linked to liver and kidney problems. Long term effects not clear but may include mental illness and depression. Same for LSD, with the additional risk of sickness and poisoning. Impaired co-ordination and increased risk of accidents, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, increased risk of respiratory diseases including lung cancer Dependency and tolerance, overdose can lead to coma or even death. Insomnia, mood swings, irritability, panic. The comedown can be severe and last for days. Physically addictive, users can experience forgetfulness, confusion and drowsiness. When injected can cause thrombosis (a blood clot) and lead to collapsed veins; if you hit an artery by mistake, the blockage can cause gangrene, possibly leading to amputation of a hand, a foot, arm or leg. Increased risk of depression and suicide. Sharing injection equipment brings risk of HIV or hepatitis infection Class A Class A Class A Not illegal in raw state but Class A once dried or processed in any way Class C Class B Class B. Class C It is not illegal to possess benzodiazepines without a prescription - except temazepam, which it is illegal to hold in a form other than its original medicinal form. Class C

9 Poppers Solvents (lighter gas refills, aerosols, glues, some paint thinners and correcting fluids) improves power and athletic performance Brief and intense head rush caused by sudden surge of blood through brain Short lived effects similar to being drunk, thick headed, dizziness, possible hallucinations Nausea head ache, fainting, loss of balance, skin problems around mouth and nose. Nausea, blackouts, increased risk of accidents. Fatal heart problems can cause instant death Not illegal to possess but supply without prescription is illegal and can be an offence Not illegal to possess but it is illegal for a shopkeeper to sell solvents to anyone under 18, if they suspect they intend for misuse Human Resources 9

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