Drug and alcohol abuse at work is not being dealt with effectively in the UK
says a CIPD survey
Nearly half (44 per cent) of all UK organisations do not have a formal
policy in place to tackle drug and alcohol abuse at work, the Chartered
Institute of Personnel and Development has warned.
Its survey, Alcohol and drug policies in UK organisations, found most
organisations with existing policies introduced them as a reaction to absence
and other disciplinary offences.
The majority of employers tackle the problem with disciplinary action, even
though they consider it to be the least effective approach.
It is estimates that alcohol and drug abuse costs UK industry approximately
£2.3bn a year in terms of sickness absence and costs to the NHS, and that it is
a growing problem.
The CIPD survey found about half of those employers with policies say they
offer counselling services, a significant proportion refer people to an OH
professional and about a third offer employees paid time off while they receive
In non-safety critical organisations, 34 per cent said staff would be
referred to an OH nurse.
This rose to between 60 per cent and 68 per cent within safety critical
Employers also said using occupational health experts was considered one of
the most effective ways of tackling drug and alcohol problems.
Organisations in the public sector are more likely to have more of these
effective approaches in place, the CIPD found.
Diane Sinclair, the CIPD’s employee relations adviser, said: "All
switched-on organisations should be taking steps to manage the costly problem
of drug and alcohol abuse, making clear to employees where they stand. Formal
and thought-out policies need to be much more widespread."