Drugs and Alcohol

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Activist Resources

Guidance for Workplace Representatives
Guidance for Workplace Representatives
For more information on Drugs and Alcohol click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Alcohol and drug testing at work has been continually in the news. But testing workers is not a magic solution to a serious workplace problem.

A number of recent studies have suggested UK companies have a growing appetite for drug and alcohol tests. However, closer scrutiny of workplace practices would on many occasions be more instructive. Testing will not reveal the possible workplace causes of drug or alcohol misuse such as stress or long, or irregular, hours.

Health organisations recognise now that the best approach is to treat drug and alcohol use problems in the workplace as sickness or capability, and not disciplinary, issues.

The TUC says a drugs and alcohol policy should be comprehensive and should ensure workers feel confident to report rather than hide problems. It is important that employers and union representatives address the issue in a non-judgemental way.

Every employer should have a policy on dealing with the issue and unions should be involved in developing and implementing these policies.

Employee assistance programmes, or better still "member assistance programs" - where unions provide back up and support for their members - can help individuals return to a healthy and productive condition.


Millions of workers could face routine and possibly daily alcohol tests using a new fingerprint device which gives instant results.
26 April 2013
A study by a global drug testing firm has confirmed the overwhemling majority of UK workers are drug-free.
06 July 2012
The TUC has warned that random drug tests at work are of ‘dubious legality' and has called on the government to produce clear guidelines.
28 May 2010
The TUC today (Friday) called on the Government to produce clear guidance on drug-testing to clear up the confusion around the legality of random or routine testing in jobs that are not safety critical.
28 May 2010
Guidance for Workplace Representatives
28 May 2010
Guidance for Workplace Representatives
28 May 2010
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in...
19 November 2004
The TUC has welcomed the report published today (noon Monday) by the Independent Inquiry into Drug Testing at Work following an 18-month investigation. “Drug testing is irrelevant to most employees and companies.
28 June 2004
A TUC report out today (Friday) says that the law does not give workers sufficient protection against the increasing use of unjustified and degrading drink and drug testing by over zealous employers.
28 November 2003
People are drinking more now than ever before, but few employers have alcohol policies in place to tackle any problems arising from their employees' drinking habits
20 February 2003