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Last orders on the quick one during work hours

08 April 2009

There is compelling evidence that the use of drugs and alcohol at the workplace is on the increase and the need for an effective misuse policy to ensure health and safety at work has never been more evident. Recent research has shown that regular drug or alcohol abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident at work. They are also three times more likely to take sick leave and are five times more likely to claim compensation following an accident.

Last orders on the quick one during work hours
Last orders on the quick one during work hours

They can also be a third less productive and ten times more likely to be late. For this reason, Grendonstar – one of the UK’s leading authorities on the problems associated with drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace – has developed a six-step process designed to improve safety, maximise staff retention and minimise lost productivity and absence from work.

The company has combined staff welfare and employee welfare issues with the need to meet current health and safety legislation. This tried and tested approach to the avoidance of drug and alcohol at work is based on a positive philosophy that both educates and motivates staff whilst providing invaluable assistance to management. Accidents, lateness and absenteeism can all be reduced, and productivity and staff morale can be greatly improved.

As independent consultants, Grendonstar is able to assess the risks associated with drug and alcohol misuse within the business and can evaluate current resources, culture and attitudes. Following consultation at all levels, a corporate policy can then be developed and publicised. As part of the process, a programme of awareness and training is created for all employees, and all those with problems are encouraged to seek help.

Management training can also be provided and, once implemented, the policy can be monitored and procedures amended on an ongoing basis using specially developed Key Performance Indicators. And if required, procedures for testing can also be established.

A welfare based substance abuse policy can be introduced, quickly and efficiently, as part of an ongoing health and safety initiative to safeguard against these problems. Sainsbury's Supply Chain started looking into the benefits of a substance misuse policy as long ago as 2001. Supply Chain worked with Trade Unions, partnership groups and colleagues to produce a welfare based policy.
The policy went live on 1 August 2002 after a period of implementation. Since implementation the company can prove the benefits in reductions of accident and absence statistics, financial benefits and most importantly our colleagues’ welfare.

Simon Truelove, General Manager at Grendonstar, commented: “Under recent Corporate Manslaughter legislation, employers are required to look at their duty of care as well as the general health and safety aspects of their operation. To be on the right side of the law, this really must include reference to the misuse of drugs and alcohol at work and the implementation of an acceptable drugs and alcohol policy.”

The Six Step Process

* Assess the risk to the business of drugs and alcohol misuse and evaluate current company resources, culture and attitudes.

* Consult, develop and publicise a corporate policy.

* Develop a programme of awareness and training for all employees and encourage those with problems to seek help.

* Develop procedures for testing if required.

* Implement policy and provide management training.

* Monitor policy and procedures on an ongoing basis using key performance indicators.

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