Alcohol, drug and substance misuse policy and procedures

Alcohol, drug and substance misuse policy and procedures

The University is committed to creating and supporting a healthy working environment and takes a supportive and rehabilitative approach towards alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems. The Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy sets out the positive approach the University takes towards addressing alcohol, drugs and substance related problems at work.


Appendix:

1. Introduction

1. Introduction

The Court of the University of Glasgow (the University) and its members of staff recognise the need to ensure that at all times the University has a highly competent workforce capable of providing the best possible service to users.

The University wishes to create and support a healthy and efficient working environment, not only through its obligation to comply with Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, and the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971, but also through a supportive and rehabilitative approach towards alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems. Alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems, which may or may not result in absence from work, not only has a significant effect on the member of staff, but can also impact on the operating capability of the University, the safety of its staff and students, and on the wellbeing of the individual member of staff.

The University has developed and implemented this policy with effect from 1 July 2006 as a positive strategy in addressing alcohol, drugs and substance related problems at work.

Policy rules on alcohol, drugs or substance abuse

Members of staff must arrive at work free from the effects of alcohol, drugs or substances, and the consumption of alcohol or misuse of drugs or substances is forbidden during working hours. Subject to certain conditions, the consumption of alcohol during work-related social events is permitted. (See section 7)

2. Aims

2. Aims

The policy aims to:

(i) clarify the University's position on alcohol, drugs and substance abuse at work in order to minimise problems at work arising from alcohol, drugs and substance abuse;

(ii) help those affected with alcohol, drugs and substance related problems by encouraging treatment where possible;

(iii) support staff in dealing with alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems by providing a clear procedure;

(iv) meet the University's legal obligations to ensure the health and safety of its staff, students and others at work;

(v) promote the safe use of alcohol and provide information on alcohol, drugs and substance abuse.

(vi) identify the circumstances in which disciplinary action is instituted for alcohol, drugs and substance abuse;

3. Definitions

3. Definitions

Alcohol, drugs and substance abuse is defined as "the intermittent or continual use of alcohol or substances which causes detriment to the member of staff's health, social functioning or work performance, and which affects efficiency, productivity, safety, attendance, timekeeping or conduct in the workplace".

Drugs and substances are defined as illegal drugs, prescribed and non-prescribed medication, and solvents. Substances covered in this document are those that come under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

4. Scope

4. Scope

This policy is concerned with the effects of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse in the workplace and applies to all members of staff. Individuals working within the University, but not employed by the University, e.g. contractors, visitors, customers, are required to adhere to the Policy guidelines even although not covered by procedural details.

5. Guiding principles

5. Guiding principles

The policy and procedures incorporate the following principles:

(i) Good faith by which it is understood that this policy and its procedures will be applied to members of staff in a consistent manner and without discrimination.

(ii) Fairness by which it is understood that action will be promoted which is reasonable, necessary, known and understood. Members of staff involved are entitled to be heard with courtesy and respect.

(iii) Confidentiality by which it is understood that information relating to alcohol, drugs and substance abuse should not be divulged to a third party not involved in the process, other than appropriate others.

(iv) Representation by which it is understood that if issues of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse arise within these procedures and a more formal approach is required to deal with them, a member of staff will be entitled to be accompanied by an officer of a trade union or by a fellow worker of the University. The representative will be allowed to put the member of staff's case across, sum up that case, and respond on the member of staff's behalf to any view expressed at the meeting. The representative will be permitted to confer with the member of staff during the meeting, and may respond to any questions on the member of staff's behalf in mutually agreed circumstances.

(v) Equal opportunities by which it is understood that in applying these procedures all members of staff will be treated without distinction in relation to sex or gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status or other family circumstance, disability, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, creed, political belief, membership of or activities as part of a trade union, and social or economic status.

6. General provisions

6. General provisions

(i) The general provisions within this policy, which relates to staff with ongoing dependency problems, should be distinguished from isolated incidences of attendance at work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or substances, and unauthorised absences resulting from the same (see Section 8). These are issues of conduct that fall within the scope of the University's Disciplinary Procedures.

(ii) This Policy may be applied simultaneously with other relevant University policies and procedures, e.g. Sickness Absence/ Capability/Disciplinary procedures, etc.

(iii) Where reference is made to Head of School/RI/Service this should be deemed to include "or nominated representative".

(iv) Heads of School/RI/Service, and Line Managers, have a central role in the effective management of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems and their impact upon work performance and service levels. It is imperative that all managers, supported by the University, acquire the skills and training needed to conduct relevant processes in a competent and supportive manner. This support needs to be particularly emphasised when a manager is dealing with a case.

(v) It is intended to regularly raise awareness of the policy and to educate members of staff by a variety of health promotion initiatives.

(vi) The University places a high value on the health of all staff and seeks to promote the safe use of alcohol and to provide information on drug and substance abuse.

(vii) The University seeks to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to minimise the likelihood of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse occurring and to limit the consequences for staff and the University's activities when it does occur. The University will support staff through periods of alcohol and/or substance related sickness absence, under the normal sick pay arrangements, with the aim of securing their return to work, and will encourage rehabilitation arrangements, or other resolution as appropriate.

(viii) If an alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem is identified the member of staff will be given the opportunity to undertake appropriate treatment to enable him/her to achieve the restoration of acceptable standards of work and behaviour. This will take place during working hours, if necessary.

7. Consumption of alcohol during work-related social events

7. Consumption of alcohol during work-related social events

It is noted that members of staff must arrive at work free from the effects of alcohol, drugs or substances, and the consumption of alcohol or misuse of drugs or substances is forbidden during working hours. However, the consumption of alcohol during work-related social events, e.g. retirement presentations, etc., is permitted, on the basis that there should always be an equal availability of non-alcoholic drinks, and where possible these events should be held toward the end of the 'normal' working day. Members of staff who are required to attend work following such events must ensure that they return to work free from the effects of alcohol. Staff should be aware that they are representing the University and behave in a responsible manner.

8. Managing alcohol, drugs or substance abuse

8. Managing alcohol, drugs or substance abuse

Alcohol, drugs or substance related issues with members of staff fall into one of two categories:

(i) Conduct related issue: an over-indulgence in alcohol, or misuse of drugs or substances, which results in socially unacceptable or even dangerous behaviour but which is not related to a physical or psychological dependence. If it is established that a member of staff's misconduct in the form of alcohol, drugs or substance abuse is not due to a dependency, recourse to the disciplinary procedures may be appropriate. The nature and appropriateness of disciplinary action will depend on such considerations as the seriousness of the misconduct, and the type of work done by the member of staff, e.g. the safety risks of a member of staff being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or substances.

(ii) On-going Health related issue: where a person's physical or psychological dependency on alcohol, drugs or substances continually or repeatedly interferes with his/her work. In these circumstances, the matter will be treated as a capability issue whereby, in the first instance, the Head of School/RI/Service will discuss the matter with the member of staff and if an alcohol, drug or substance abuse problem is identified the member of staff will be referred to Occupational for further advice and support (see Capability Procedure - Paragraphs 1.1(iv) and 9).

Relevant considerations by the Line Manager before referring to Occupational Health for review will include:

(i) the member of staff's acceptance that there is a problem;

(ii) the member of staff's willingness and commitment to obtaining treatment;

(iii) the number of previous occasions on which similar support has been provided;

9. Identifying a potential alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem

9. Identifying a potential alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem

The following characteristics, especially in combinations, may indicate the presence of an alcohol, drugs or substance related problem. It should be noted that these symptoms could be caused by other factors:

(i) Absenteeism: instances of unauthorised leave, frequent Friday and/or Monday absences, leaving work early, lateness (especially returning from lunch), excessive sickness absence, unusually high level of short-term and intermittent absences with, or without, explanation;

(ii) High accident level: at work, elsewhere, driving or at home;

(iii) Work performance: difficulty in concentration, work requires increased effort, individual tasks take more time, problems with remembering instructions or own mistakes;

(iv) Mood swings: irritability, depression, and general confusion;

(v) Appearance: deterioration in physical appearance and/or wellbeing.

10. Intervention

10. Intervention

Where a member of staff recognises that he/she may have a dependency problem, provision is made for confidential self-referral to an Occupational Health for advice and support. The member of staff can contact Occupational Health to arrange a confidential appointment.

(i) Voluntary approach by member of staff who may have an alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem

Where such an approach is made by a member of staff to the Line Manager, the Line Manager should discuss the matter fully with the member of staff and with the agreement of the member of staff refer to Occupational Health and/or another appropriate external agency (see Appendix A) for advice and support. A date for a review meeting should be arranged at this stage to ensure that ongoing support is being provided.

(ii) Action by colleagues

It is possible that a member of staff with an alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem will come to the notice of a School/RI/Service through the observation of colleagues or through inadequate or deteriorating work performance. It is in the interest of the member of staff with such a problem to be offered help as soon as possible. If help is accepted prompt action may assist earlier recovery for the member of staff and will reduce the effects on colleagues.

Members of staff are encouraged to address the issue directly and not to cover up for colleagues with an alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem, as non-action represents a false sense of loyalty and may in the long term impact on the colleague with the problem as well as other members of staff. The first approach should normally be for colleagues to encourage the member of staff to recognise his/her problem and to seek advice either through his/her G.P. or the agencies listed in Appendix A. If this fails, colleagues are encouraged to alert the Line Manager to the situation so that more formal support may be provided within the University's procedures at as early a stage as possible.

(iii) Action by Line Manager: Where an alcohol, drugs or substance abuse problem is suspected, the Line Manager will, in the first instance, arrange to meet with the member of staff to discuss the matter within the terms of the Capability Policy, as appropriate. The discussion should be confined to aspects of work performance, attendance, behaviour and/or attitude. In these circumstances the first step will most likely be referral to Occupational Health for advice and support and/or treatment. The manager may seek support and advice from Human Resources as well as from Occupational Health, but the primary focus in the workplace will be via the line manager.

11. Relapse

11. Relapse

Where a member of staff, having received treatment, suffers a relapse the University will consider the case on its individual merits. In these circumstances the Line Manager should immediately seek guidance from the Territorial HR Manager to determine the appropriate procedure to be followed.

12. Other serious misconduct caused by alcohol, drugs or substance abuse

12. Other serious misconduct caused by alcohol, drugs or substance abuse

(i) Intoxication on the premises

If a member of staff is known to be, or strongly suspected of being intoxicated by alcohol during working hours, the Line Manager should consult with the territorial HR Manager, where possible. Arrangements will be made for the member of staff to be immediately escorted from the University's premises, and if deemed necessary arrangements will be made for the member of staff to be taken home. However, intoxication on University premises, whether resulting from a dependency problem or not, is considered a serious breach of discipline and may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the member of staff.

(ii) Drugs and substance abuse on the premises

A member of staff who takes mood or performance altering substances on University premises which have not been prescribed on medical grounds will, in the absence of mitigating circumstances, be deemed to be committing an act of gross misconduct and will be subject to the Disciplinary process. This course of action will also be applicable to any member of staff believed to be buying or selling drugs and/or substances, in unlawfully possessing drugs and/or substances, who has stolen drugs and/or substances from the University, or who is or has been involved in the attempted illegal manufacture of drugs and/or substances on University premises. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 may also apply in the above circumstances.

13. Training and development

13. Training and development

The University is committed to providing training to support the management of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems.

Training is available to Line Managers in order to develop "early recognition" techniques for identifying any member of staff misusing alcohol, drugs or substances. The Sickness Absence/Capability training available at present will also support Line Managers in dealing with members of staff involved in alcohol, drugs or substance abuse.

14. Review

14. Review

The policy will be reviewed after the first year of introduction and will be reviewed from time to time thereafter.

Alcohol Appendix A (Word)

Human Resources
September 2006