Alcohol related problems at work

legal updates

Health and Safety Executive identify a 4-step process for dealing with alcohol problems.

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HSE provide useful information on dealing with alcohol issues at work.

The legal position is that an employer has the general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. By knowingly allowing an employer to carry on working when influenced by alcohol then the employer could be prosecuted.

Health and Safety Executive identify a 4-step process for dealing with alcohol problems.

Step 1 – Establish if there is a problem which may be

  • Drinking at work
  • Drinking during breaks
  • Regular heavy drinking outside work
  • Getting drunk outside working hours

Step 2 – Decide what to do          

What level of alcohol is acceptable and when?     

Are the same rules applicable to some or all?

How can an alcohol drinking employee be dealt with who is finding it difficult to control?

Would it be different if someone flouts the rules on drinking and perhaps turns up drunk?

Step 3 – Take action          

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As with any policy it is good to involve everyone to get support.

Step 4 – Prudence of policy

The elements of confidentiality and help are important parts of such a policy

Screening for alcohol is a sensitive area.  It would be possible to include it for new employees but it may not be acceptable for existing employees where the contract needs to be changed.

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