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Drugs and alcohol testing in the workplace: HR Forum advises employers on best practice

An event intended to assist employers and HR professionals on devising best practice polices for drugs and alcohol testing in the workplace has been hosted by Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP, in collaboration with Associated British Ports (ABP).

The HR Forum, which covered a number of key issues including drug and alcohol misuse, prevalence, detection and management, was presented by Martin Bardle, head of Humber International Terminal at ABP, an organisation with significant experience in enforcing a drugs and alcohol policy.

Martin Bardle said: – “Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff, which includes ensuring that employees are not working under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Drug testing in certain industries and safety critical sectors is already legislated for and since 2015, there have also been new regulations on driving under the influence of drugs in England and Wales, which are linked to drug testing. However, beyond these examples, the law on drugs testing is very unclear.

“Understanding the signs of drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) will help you to manage health and safety risk in your workplace, develop a policy to deal with drug and alcohol-related problems and support your employees.”

Jonathan Dale, partner and head of employment law at Andrew Jackson, added: – “We are very grateful to Martin for sharing his insight in this area, which is often difficult to navigate from a legal perspective.

“It was clear from discussions with delegates that structuring an effective workplace drugs and alcohol policy means striking a careful balance between the need to treat fairly those employees who may test positive for drugs and alcohol against the requirement, from a health and safety view, to protect the workforce against the risk of harm caused by employees whose performance at work may be impaired through drink or drugs.”

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