Summary of Duties

Synergy Lifting Limited must ensure that employees and others are not put at risk by work activities (ss. 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) which therefore obliges the Company to ensure that no employee endangers fellow employees at work due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Under common law Synergy Lifting Limited will normally be held vicariously liable for the actions of one employee towards another were work activities are taking place.

Any person who uses or misuses drugs or alcohol in the workplace may commit a breach of ss. 7 of HSWA which requires employees to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

Policy Statement

The Company is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment.  In relation to this, it recognises that the misuse of drugs and alcohol may affect the health, performance, conduct and relationships of employees.  The Company therefore aims to:

  • Promote the health and wellbeing of employees to minimise all problems at work arising from the effect of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Identify employees with possible problems relating to the effects of drugs or alcohol at an early stage.
  • Offer employees known to have drug or alcohol related problems affecting their work, referral to an appropriate source for diagnosis and treatment if necessary.
  • To communicate the policy to all employees.
  • This policy is applicable to all Company locations.
  • The person responsible for implementing this policy is Mr Gary Stephens.
  • A copy of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy is available to all employees and will form part of their conditions of employment.

Record Keeping

Synergy Lifting Limited will ensure adequate records are available to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonably practicable health and safety precautions, which may include keeping records of training given to personnel with regard to raising awareness of the effects of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Where the Company has an occasion to discuss a drug or alcohol related issue with an individual, appropriate written notes will be kept.  The need for medical confidentiality will be taken into account.

Arrangements for Securing the Health and Safety of Workers

As the use of alcohol is not appropriate in the workplace and drug abuse can be a criminal offence as well as a serious risk to health and safety, the Company will in consultation with management and workers:

  • Advise all employees and persons starting work of the risks to health arising from the effects of drugs or alcohol (including some legitimately prescribed medications).
  • Encourage employees, who may have drug or alcohol related problems, which affect their work, to take advantage of the Company referral procedure for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Enable management to identify job performance problems that may attributable to the effects of drugs or alcohol and to consult with the appropriate Company specialist to determine whether there is sufficient concern to warrant medical evaluation.
  • In cases where the effects on work of misuse of drugs or alcohol is confirmed or admitted, agree upon a programme of treatment in consultation with an appropriate medical advisor and the employee.
  • Instruct the appropriate medical advisor to co-ordinate, monitor and if necessary participate in the treatment, which may involve recourse to or liaison with the general practitioner, counsellor, hospital outpatient department or in-patient care.

As an employee you must be able to perform your duties without risk of impairment by drugs and/or alcohol, therefore you should:

  • Look after your own health and safety by developing a responsible attitude towards drugs and alcohol.
  • Be aware of colleagues or others who may put safety at risk by their actions.
  • Recognise when and how to ask for help.

Safe Systems of Working

The effects of drugs and alcohol at work can create serious health and safety risks.  Therefore, the following rules are to be adhered to:

  1. Do not come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  2. Do not bring alcohol or non-prescribed drugs onto the Companies premises.
  3. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of prescribed medications.
  4. Never drive plant or machinery if you are affected by drugs or alcohol.
  5. Ask your general practitioner or company for guidance and advice on sensible limits of alcohol consumption.
  6. Offer support and advice to colleagues who you suspect of suffering from drug or alcohol abuse do not “protect” them by staying silent (you are doing them no favours).
  7. Ask for assistance if you feel that matters are beyond your control.
  8. Any employee who commits a clear breach of company rules due to drugs or alcohol abuse will be dealt with under the company disciplinary procedures.


  1. To enable the employee to understand the dangers associated with the use, and misuse of drugs and alcohol.
  2. To enable the employee to be aware of the Company Policy with regard to the misuse of drugs and alcohol.
  3. To ensure that the manager has enough understanding and information to:
  • Recognise the symptoms that may indicate misuse of drugs or alcohol by an employee.
  • Compliance with the Companies own Policy and procedures relating to drugs and alcohol.
  • A prompt and accurate response to the problem.
  • Recognition of the extent of his/her own competence.
Scope of Training

Training should be directed to understanding:

  • The effects of drugs and alcohol and the dangers and problems that can arise from misuse.
  • The increased reaction time that results from relatively small quantities of substances and the consequences for safety at the workplace.
  • The Companies attitude and policy towards those employees who may misuse drugs and alcohol.
  • The possession and supply of certain drugs is a criminal offence.
  • That certain medically prescribed drugs can adversely affect work performance and safety.

In addition to the above, Management must understand:

  • That alcoholism (as distinct from alcohol abuse) is a recognised disease.
  • The importance of maintaining medical confidentiality.
  • How and when to refer an issue to a Company responsible person.
  • The circumstances that may require involvement from external agencies, such as the medical profession, personal counsellors or even the police.
  • How to respond to concerns from other staff about working with a person who may be misusing drugs or alcohol.
Methods of Training

A presentation on drugs and alcohol abuse covering the following:

  • Why the Company has a policy for dealing with misuse of drugs or alcohol, i.e the law relating to use of drugs or alcohol and work related reasons.
  • What is meant by misuse of drugs and alcohol.
  • Effects of drugs (by type) and alcohol.
  • Practical examination of case studies.
  • The Company Policy.
  • Symptoms of drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Informal discussion.
Additional Training

The employer should consider providing additional training:

  • If incidents of misuse of drugs or alcohol are thought to be on the increase.
  • Whenever new employees commence work.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Synergy Lifting Limited employees would be subject to drug and alcohol testing in accordance with a laid down procedure which would be explained to personnel prior to them commencing work on any of those sites.

Typical circumstances where drug and alcohol testing would be when circumstances suggest the possibility of impairment by drugs or alcohol resulting in abnormal behaviour or appearance, reliable information of drug or alcohol abuse or a situation of disputed substance possession, this is defined as “with cause testing”.

Prior to testing all employees would be asked to sign a consent form.  Failure to consent or a positive result would disqualify the individual from returning to work.

Screening in respect of drug or alcohol abuse could be undertaken in a number of various ways including but not restricted to:

  • Pre-employment testing of applicants.
  • Testing all or part of the workforce either routinely at set intervals or on a random basis.
  • Testing a particular individual in particular circumstances.
  • After an accident or dangerous occurrence.
  • When drugs are found on site or in the possession of an individual.
  • Where there is evidence of abuse.
  • Where there are indications of hazardous behaviour.
  • As part of an after-care rehabilitation programme.

Drug and Alcohol Guide to “With Cause” Searching

Searches for drugs and alcohol may be conducted where the company has reasonable grounds to believe that drugs or alcohol have been brought to the place of work, or are in the possession of individuals.  Searches may be conducted of an individual’s personal effects and/or their desk or locker and other areas in the workplace under the individuals control.  Failure to co-operate with a search will be regarded as serious misconduct.

All searches must be undertaken by two responsible people in authority i.e. Manager or Supervisor, one of which is to be a nominated note taker.

It is important that any search is undertaken in the presence of the individual concerned, and at the time that suspicion is raised.  He/she may if they wish, be accompanied by a colleague.

The search date and time, individuals present and location should be noted.

The search should be conducted methodically with the individual being allowed to watch the search take place.  Do not have more than one person searching as the individual can only watch one at a time.  A body search of the individual must not be conducted.

Any items of suspicion found should be shown to the individual and he/she should be asked whether it is owned/used by him/her.  The discovery of such items should be logged, and all questions and responses, including refusal to answer should be recorded.  Where an unspecified substance is found, ask the individual what it is, record any answer to this as well as a description of the substance.  Do not attempt to guess what it is, and do not tamper unnecessarily with it.

A description of where the substance or item of suspicion is found should be noted, any container, jacket etc. where the item was found should be retained.

Please note, where drawers are searched, turn out the contents onto the floor as a precaution against contaminated needles or sharp objects.

Record the time that the search finished.  Invite all parties to sign the transcription and note any refusal to sign.

Where items of suspicion have been found, place these in a sealed container and sign over the seal.

If the item contravenes the code of conduct, but is not illegal e.g. alcohol, it should be retained by management in a safe place.  The employee should be sent home pending a formal disciplinary hearing.

Peter Stephens

P Stephens

Managing Director
Synergy Lifting Ltd.

View this policy on our company letterhead