Employers Legal Position
Employers have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. They also have a duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees.
If you knowingly allow an employee under the influence of drugs or alcohol misuse to continue working, and his or her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, you could be prosecuted. Your employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do at work.
The Transport and Works Act 1992, makes it a criminal offence for certain workers to be unfit through drugs and/or drink while working. The operators of the transport system would also be guilty of an offence unless they had shown due diligence in trying to prevent such an offence being committed.
The principal legislation in the UK for controlling the misuse of drugs is the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Nearly all drugs with misuse and/or dependence liability are covered by it.
Did you know that HSE data suggests that workers, for example, in the construction industry are SIX times more likely to be killed at work than other workers?
Often working away from home and demanding schedules leave workers vulnerable to peer group pressure which may lead to the inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol.