Legal Obligations

Do you have a responsibility to tackle Drug Abuse within your workplace and raise Awareness - the answer is 'YES'

You have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at 'work' of your employee's. You also have a duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, to assess the risks to the health and safety of your employee's. If you knowingly allow an employee under the influence of 'drugs' to continue working and his or her behaviour places the employee or others at 'risk' - you could be liable to prosecution. Your employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and other who are affected by what they do at work''.

Employers should also be aware of the possibility of employee’s committing Criminal Offences in the workplace, predominately ‘possession and supply’ (or concerned in either or) of controlled drugs (eg Cannabis, Cocaine, Amphetamines,..etc). The main piece of legislation covering illegal drugs is the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (click here to find out more..)

Protecting Your employees and you the employer..!!

Please take a moment to read these true accounts:

"I worked for a large hotel chain as a cleaner. Whilst I was cleaning one of the rooms I found a used 'hypodermic needle' , and it was clear from the 'blood' inside of it, that it had been used. Whilst retrieving the needle I pricked my finger. I informed my supervisor what had happened and asked how to dispose of the needle. She said throw it in the bin outside, and suggested I ran my finger under war water before applying a plaster. 2 years later I was diagnosed with 'Hepatitis C', which was a direct result from the 'handling' of the needle. I subsequently successfully sued my employer….

I am 27 years old and have been using ‘Cannabis casually mainly at the weekend and the odd time on an evening.. Prior to May 2003 I worked in a large distribution factory and my job is predominately driving a fork lift truck. In May 2003 whilst at work I was involved in quite a serious accident whilst driving the fork lift. A health and safety investigation commenced and I was tested for drugs. The test proved positive..and subsequently I was suspended and eventually sacked. I challenged this through an industrial tribunal and won my case. The tribunal found that I had not been given any training or education on the impact drugs could have on my performance and in particular the length of time the drug stays in my system….

Both the above scenarios highlight the lack of knowledge and training these employee’s and employer had in respect of Drugs Misuse in the workplace. Simple but effective procedures could have been put in place to avoid this…don’t wait until the next accident happens. Do you know your legislation..for example..??

  • The Health and Safety at Works etc.. Act 1974
  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003
  • The Transport and Works Act 1992
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation
  • Provision and Use of Work Equip/Regulations
  • The Employment Rights Act 1996
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

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