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Health and Safety

Drugs and alcohol

For more information on Drugs & Alcohol click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Alcohol and drug testing at work has been continually in the news. But testing workers is not a magic solution to a serious workplace problem.

A number of recent studies have suggested UK companies have a growing appetite for drug and alcohol tests. However, closer scrutiny of workplace practices would on many occasions be more instructive. Testing will not reveal the possible workplace causes of drug or alcohol misuse such as stress or long, or irregular, hours.

Health organisations recognise now that the best approach is to treat drug and alcohol use problems in the workplace as sickness or capability, and not disciplinary, issues.

The TUC says a drugs and alcohol policy should be comprehensive and should ensure workers feel confident to report rather than hide problems. It is important that employers and union representatives address the issue in a non-judgemental way.

Every employer should have a policy on dealing with the issue and unions should be involved in developing and implementing these policies.

Employee assistance programmes, or better still "member assistance programs - where unions provide back up and support for their members - can help individuals return to a healthy and productive condition.


HSA Alcohol and drugs pages

DON'T MIX IT! A guide for employers on alcohol at work

Drug abuse at work: a guide for employers. HSE booklet, ref. IND(G)91L

Union resources on drugs and alcohol at work


Alcohol Concern

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

Firms urged to give substance misuse support
Firms must do more to help staff struggling with drink and drug misuse problems, a new report has recommended
21 September 2007

Australia: Substance abuse tests of ‘minimal' use
An Australian union body has welcomed a new report by a federal government agency that concludes workplace drug and alcohol tests are of little use.
PDF version available for download
15 June 2007

London seeks to lead Britain in the challenge to secure better health and safety at work
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in every workplace in London and a positive and meaningful partnership between that rep, the employer, unions and the Health and Safety Executive. Those are the key messages from an event (today) organised by HSE London and the Southern and Eastern Region TUC for more than 200 London based health and safety reps.
19 November 2004

Firms want clear guidelines on workplace drug testing
Few UK companies carry out any form of drug testing in the workplace, but two-thirds want clearer guidelines on the issue, a new survey claims.
PDF version available for download
16 September 2004

BA staff to face drink and drugs tests
A new British Airways policy introducing workplace drink and drugs tests has taken effect.
PDF version available for download
6 August 2004

TUC backs report on the dangers of drug testing
The TUC has welcomed the report published today (noon Monday) by the Independent Inquiry into Drug Testing at Work following an 18-month investigation. “Drug testing is irrelevant to most employees and companies.
28 June 2004

Older documents - 4   >

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Northern TUC / HSE Training Day

Related reps and officer training courses from unionlearn.