POLICY AND GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS ON STAFF SUBSTANCE MISUSE

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1 POLICY AND GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS ON STAFF SUBSTANCE MISUSE HEALTH & SAFETY UNIT AUTUMN 2012

2 CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 2 AIM... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 3 APPLICATION... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 4 DEFINITIONS... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 5 EDUCATION AND AWARENESS TRAINING... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 6 TRAINING... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 7 PROVISION OF SUPPORT... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. 8 RISK ASSESSMENT DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES SUBSTANCE MISUSE GUIDANCE INTRODUCTION THE LEGAL POSITION THE IMPAIRMENT OF PERFORMANCE USE OF THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE THE SUPPLY OF ILLEGAL DRUGS PROHIBITION ON THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES TABLE OF SUPPORT GROUPS... 7

3 1 Introduction 2 Aim Manchester Metropolitan University recognises and accept its responsibilities as an employer for providing a safe and healthy working environment for its staff and students. Individual staff have a responsibility to co-operate with the University in discharging its duties in respect of heath and safety matters. The policy has been introduced within a health and safety framework to help and support staff, regardless of status and seniority, who are suffering from substance misuse problems. To encourage employees effected by substance misuse to seek support and treatment. To minimise the damage of substance misuse by promoting responsible attitudes to substances through education and awareness programmes. 3 Application This policy will apply to staff while working on University premises or undertaking any activity under the direct control of the University. 4 Definitions Whilst definitions are provided for both use and misuse it is not the University s aim to make a distinction between an individuals misuse of substances, but to provide a supportive framework. Substance use is the taking of medically prescribed drugs, over the counter medicines, alcohol or other substances that may affect an individual s behaviour and work performance. Substance misuse is the taking of any drug, alcohol or other substance which does adversely affect an individual s behaviour and work performance and which has not been medically prescribed or advised. Substance misuse can harm the misuser both physically and mentally and, through the misuser s actions, other people and the environment. Substances in this context include: Alcohol Controlled (Illegal) Drugs Controlled Prescribed Drugs Other Prescription Drugs Other Substances e.g. cannabis, amphetamine, ecstasy, heroin and cocaine e.g. methadone, diamorphine, anabolic steroids e.g. diazepam, temazepam e.g. over the counter medication and solvents, which when used inappropriately or excessively can be dangerous 2

4 5 Education and Awareness Raising The aim of education and raising of awareness on the effects of substance misuse will be to enable staff to make informed choices about their life styles and associated risks. The University will provide for staff accurate and realistic information about the potential problems and hazards associated with substance misuse. The emphasis will be on harm minimisation and encouragement to use support networks and seek assistance where substance misuse is causing problems. 6 Training The University recognises that it has an obligation to train HR staff and managers to ensure that they have the necessary skills and understanding to implement the policy. Training will include the following: explain what a substance misuse policy is and what it can achieve; basic substance misuse awareness; recognising the different risks and problems that substance misuse can cause at work; identifying and dealing with substance misusers; basic skills for approaching and advising individuals; legal issues; case studies; the role and operation of support services/agencies; Impact of behaviour. 7 Provision of Support The University will provide support to staff where substance misuse has an impact on their: performance behaviour reliability The University will develop and maintain links with appropriate local and national support services/agencies. Details of these support services/ agencies will be made widely available. Through appropriate local and national support services/agencies the University will provide access to a range of treatments and patterns of support in order to meet the different needs of individuals and reflect the severity and nature of the substance misuse. The aim of support will be to minimise the need for extended periods of absence. Where absence is necessary, it will be treated as sickness absence. It is important that individuals seeking support can have confidence in the process and in its confidentiality. Information disclosed by them in this context shall be treated as confidential unless the individual concerned expressly gives consent for specific information to be disclosed. 3

5 8 Risk assessments Risk assessments undertaken under health and safety legislation should consider the effects of substance misuse when identifying risk control strategies. This will be particularly important when constructing risk assessments for medium to high-risk work activities such as operating machinery, driving University vehicles, working with harmful substances or working at height. 9 Disciplinary Procedures The University will seek to regard substance misuse by staff as a health rather than a disciplinary issue in the first instance. It will seek to encourage staff to obtain help without endangering their job security. However, the University reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures. In particular, where a member of staff reverts to the previous pattern of conduct or performance then disciplinary procedures may be initiated. Disciplinary procedures may also be appropriate in cases where the individual: continues to deny the existence of a problem refuses the opportunity to obtain help The University has a legal obligation to maintain a safe working environment and to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all staff. Therefore, the University also reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures where a significant risk of harm to an individual or others has been created, or an incident has occurred that breaches University policies or rules, as a consequence of substance misuse. 4

6 10 SUBSTANCE MISUSE GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS 10.1 Introduction The objective of the University s policy is to ensure in so far as reasonably possible that matters concerning substance misuse are dealt with appropriately and promptly. This is important since substance misuse will impact on both the employee s performance at work and on their health, safety and career prospects and sometimes on the safety of others. It is the responsibility of each employee to ensure that they do nothing that will impair their fitness to work at any time during the course of the working day. The policy emphasises the commitment of the University to support and help employees who may be suffering from an alcohol or a drug dependency. Where this is the case, the initial objective will be to secure an agreement with the employee that they seek the appropriate help. It is important to remember, however, that the University has a duty of care to all of its employees and this must be borne in mind when attempting to address problems caused by substance misuse. In relation to the use of illegal substances, there is the further issue of possible police involvement. This guide attempts to deal with the approach to adopt in these circumstances as well as the application of the internal disciplinary procedure. 11 The Legal Position The University is required under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of your employees, students and others at work. The University also has a duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of your employees. If you knowingly allow an employee under the influence of substance 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. Therefore, by not addressing an employee s drink or drug problem, the University could be committing a criminal offence. Under the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971, it is an offence for the University (or one of its employees) to knowingly permit certain drugs to be used, kept, or supplied on the premises. It is also illegal under the act to ignore such occurrences. 12 The Impairment Of Performance Where an employee has a drug or alcohol dependency problem, there will be some behavioural implications of this: Absenteeism Poor punctuality Low standards of performance Relationship difficulties 5

7 Lack of attention to appearance Where there have been such changes in behaviour, the appropriate manager should see the employee on a confidential basis. The manager should identify the University s expectations and seek to try and establish the cause of the problem. If the problem is connected with drugs or alcohol, it is often the case that the person concerned will be reluctant to divulge that this is the case. In such circumstances, the capability/ disciplinary process may need to be activated. Wherever the Manager becomes aware that a member is misusing alcohol, or it is seen that a member of staff is using prohibited and other substances personally, they should invite the person concerned for a meeting on a confidential basis. This opportunity should be taken to record concern for the health and possible predicament of the member of staff concerned, to highlight the support available, and to urge the member of staff to seek help as soon as possible. If the employee does identify that there is a problem of substance misuse, the next step would be to try and reach an agreement about the support or help that can be provided. This could be either a referral to the University s Occupational Health provider or a request that the employee consult with his/her GP in the first instance. In addition, the employee may wish to seek help from one of the support networks identified in the appendix to this guideline. Where the doctor approves a treatment plan, the University will accept that the employee may need to take sick leave from time to time whilst attending for treatment. The manager should agree to see the employee on a regular basis in order to monitor progress. 13 Use Of The Disciplinary Procedure The Disciplinary Procedure may be used in the following circumstances: Where the employee does not acknowledge that there is a substance misuse problem and there are performance issues to be addressed Where the employee does acknowledge a substance misuse problem but refuses to participate in a treatment programme Where the employee commences a treatment programme and fails to complete it Where misconduct occurs after the use of alcohol or drugs (and there is no known dependency problem) Where it is necessary to proceed to the disciplinary/ capability procedure, the employee should be notified in writing of the expected standards of performance. He/ she should also be advised that a failure to achieve those standards could result in their dismissal. Where misconduct occurs arising from drunkenness or some other form of substance misuse, the employee should be escorted from the premises. If the misconduct is serious, i.e. if it could be described as gross misconduct as defined in the Disciplinary Procedure, consideration will need to be given to the suspension of the employee. In accordance with the provisions of the Disciplinary Procedure, an investigation should commence at the earliest opportunity. 6

8 The possession of an illegal substance on the University s premises would constitute either misconduct or gross misconduct depending on the circumstances and would result in a disciplinary investigation. The advice of the appropriate HR Adviser should be sought at the earliest opportunity in respect of any cases that arise under this section. 14 The Supply Of Illegal Drugs Where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a member of staff has been involved in the supplying of illegal drugs or attempting to supply illegal drugs or attempting to use illegal drugs, the matter will normally be reported to the police and the employee will be suspended from duty. Prior to taking these steps, however, the matter should be the subject of discussion with either the HR Director or the HR Manager. 15 Prohibition On The Consumption Of Alcohol Where an employee is responsible for the supervision of a laboratory or workshop or other area of activity that involves work on potentially dangerous machinery, the employee will be expected to refrain from consuming any alcohol during the course of the working day. This will also apply to technicians and other staff who are engaged in the same areas and also to employees engaged in the driving of vehicles or who are engaged on security operations. 16 General Responsibilities Whilst staff that are not engaged in work associated with vehicles or machinery or chemicals, etc are able to consume alcohol during the course of the working day, it is their obligation to ensure that such consumption is at a sensible level. The overriding obligation is for employees to present themselves at all times in a condition that permits them to fulfil all their contractual duties. 17 Table of support group Link and support groups (drug misuse) Contact details Short note Manchester Drug Service South Alderman Downward House Wythenshawe Civic Centre Manchester M22 5RF Provides treatment service for people with drug problems Release hour confidential helpline offering advice on drug and legal issues. 7

9 ADAS Alcohol & Drug Abstinence Service MASH Manchester Action on Street Health ADFAM PADA Parents Against Drug Abuse 483 Buxton Road Stockport Cheshire SK2 7HQ MASH Fairfield Street Manchester M1 2WR Corsham Street London N1 6DR Chrch Parade Ellesmere Port Cheshire CH65 2ER Aims to help people affected by alcohol and drug dependency to break the chain of addiction and reconstitute the family within the community Mash is a sexual health promotion/hiv prevention organisation for sex workers and drug users in Greater Manchester A confidential support and information helpline for families of drug users Support to parents of drug users UK National Drug Helpline hour, 7 day a week confidential telephone service that offers advice and information for drug users, recovering or past users, friends, family or contact of drug users. Alcohol Concern Suite 5 Provides information and West Wing, New City advice on the whole range Cloisters of alcohol-related issues. 196 Old Street Can also provide London EC1V 9R12 consultants to conduct training and advise employers on establishing workplace policies, and can put employers in touch with local alcohol and drug services. Drinkline The national alcohol helpline provides confidential information and help to caller worried about their own or someone else s drinking, and can refer caller to alcohol services. NHS Smokefree Helpline Offers information, advice and support to people who are giving up, have given up smoking and do not want to start again. The 8

10 service is also design to support their friend and families as well as health specialists. 9

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