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I swear to drunk, I’m not God boss

It feels like everywhere you look at the minute it’s doom, gloom and bad news. Having made it through a global pandemic, we are now approaching a cost-of-living crisis and so it is unsurprising that IOSH Magazine has reported a 54% increase in positive drug test results in the workplace since 2019. They also report that 27% of people asked said they increased their alcohol consumption due to the pandemic.

This could lead to real life consequences for a lot of companies. No matter the workplace, if your employees are coming to work under the influence, this will affect their safety and the safety of those around them. So, what can you do about it?

Look for the signs of drug and alcohol misuse:

  • unexplained or frequent absences
  • a change in behaviour
  • unexplained dips in productivity
  • more accidents or near-misses
  • performance or conduct issues


Provide training to all employees on the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Ensure that they all understand the drugs and alcohol policy in place and the steps they need to take if they notice any of the above signs in a colleague.

Provide proactive support to employees who are struggling.

Understandably, many companies have a no tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol. If your employees are carrying out high risk work, it might be that this is your only option. However, there is an argument that taking a more supportive approach will encourage anybody struggling to come to the company before it starts affecting their work and allow them to get the help they need without losing their job.


There are several types of testing policy available and it is important you select the right one for your business and that it is implemented correctly. It is no good having a random testing policy when you have suspicions about a specific employee and so the testing is not, in fact, random at all. Testing by itself will also not solve the problem and so, where introduced, it should be part of a company’s overall policy.


If you need help implementing a policy or dealing with a specific issue, please contact ProAktive Risk Management on 01302 341 344.

By Rachel Cuff CMIOSH Risk Consultant

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