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Substance abuse

You should always be fit and ready to carry out your duties while at work.

We have particular policies to protect people from the consequences of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse.

We will try to help those with problems, but we will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

Not sure what's best? Ask.

For more information download:

Employee Wellbeing Group Standard

What you can expect from us:

Substance misuse presents major health and safety risks in the workplace. If we think it's necessary, we will put procedures in place to prevent it. These can include screening for drugs or alcohol, and you will need to comply with them as part of your employment contract. Your manager or human resources department can tell you more.

We will try to help you if you have a substance abuse problem, but you should also help yourself, and comply with our requirements. We must maintain a safe working environment, and we will respond to poor performance, misconduct or excessive absence. Sometimes this can mean our support for you takes place at the same time as disciplinary procedures.

If you do have a problem, we will ask you to seek professional help as soon as possible. If you don't do this, and your substance misuse is a risk to you or to others, we may take disciplinary action against you.

If you take time off because of substance misuse, we may require you to be assessed for fitness before you return to work. We may also require you to agree to follow-up counselling, regular medical check-ups and unannounced testing.

We will respect your privacy as far as possible if you are undergoing treatment.

We will work with you to try to return you to your pre-treatment duties, or to an alternative job if that isn't possible.

We expect you to:

  • Come to work free from alcohol, drugs, or other substances which could affect your performance.
  • Remain healthy and ready to carry out your duties while at work.
  • Never use, possess, sell or distribute illegal drugs or substances or abuse alcohol at work.
  • Seek professional help as soon as possible if you have a drug or alcohol problem, and comply with all our requirements for your recovery.
  • Let us know if your doctor has prescribed drugs or medication that may impair your performance. We won't penalise you, but we do need to make sure you and those you work with are safe.
  • Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so.

We have particular policies to protect people from the consequences of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse. We will try to help those with problems, but we will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

You suspect that a friend and colleague is abusing their prescription medication. They seem lethargic and are making mistakes in their work that are very out of character.

Who should you talk to?

1. I'd talk to some colleagues to see what they think

Wrong. Please try again.

2. I'd talk to my Manager. I may be wrong about my friend, but what if I was right?

Right answer because:

While it's a difficult situation, if what you suspect is true then your friend needs help. Failing to act could result in them making mistakes that could harm them or their colleagues. It could also mean that Serco does not carry out its business as it should.

We will try to help you if you have a substance abuse problem, but you should also help yourself, and comply with our requirements.

If we look at those requirements, our Code tells your colleague clearly that we expect everyone to:

  • Come to work free from alcohol, drugs, or other substances which could affect your performance
  • Let us know if your doctor has prescribed drugs or medication that may impair your performance. We won't penalise you, but we do need to make sure you and those you work with are safe.

Your colleague isn't doing this.

Our Code also tells you clearly:

  • Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so.

So you should talk to your line manager or Human Resources about this, before any harm is done. That's also the best way to help your friend.

Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so.

3. I'd talk to my friend and see if my assumptions are correct

Wrong. Please try again.

A colleague turns up for work looking unwell. You can smell alcohol on his breath. He's about to start using potentially dangerous equipment. You check if he's okay, and he assured you he's absolutely fine.

Do you need to do anything else?

1. Absolutely! This could create a danger for him and others. It must be stopped at once

Right answer because:

Our Code tells us that we should all "come to work free from alcohol, drugs, or other substances, which could affect your performance."

It also requires us to "Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others."

"Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others."

It's important to know that we will try to help those with problems, and we can't do that unless we know.

But we have particular policies to protect people from the consequences of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse, and we must and will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

In this case, there's real danger that this colleague could do harm. So despite your colleague's words, you must report your concern immediately. If you don't, you are risking his safety and the safety of others.

 

2. I'd try to get him doing something less dangerous

Wrong. Please try again.

3. No, he said he's fine and he knows how strict we are about working under the influence

Wrong. Please try again.

You think a friend at work has a drink problem, but you're not sure.

What should you do?

1. Nothing. What he does in his own time is his own business

Wrong. Please try again.

2. Have a word with him to see if you're right

Wrong. Please try again.

3. I'd talk to my Manager. I may have got this wrong but it's best to be safe

Right answer because:

You're right to flag this straight away. If your friend does have a problem, they may need help, and it's important to try to sort this out before they harm themselves or others.

You should let your line manager or Human Resources department know. Our Code makes it clear that we will try to help anyone if they have a substance abuse problem, but they should also help themselves, and comply with our requirements.

Our Code tells your friend to "Seek professional help as soon as possible if you have a drug or alcohol problem, and comply with all our requirements for your recovery." It also makes it clear that:

"We will respect your privacy as far as possible if you are undergoing treatment."

"We will work with you to try to return you to your pre-treatment duties, or to an alternative job if that isn't possible."

And it tells all of us to:

"Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so."

Substance misuse presents major health and safety risks in the workplace, so we must act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

If we think it's necessary, we will put procedures in place to prevent it. These can include screening for drugs or alcohol.

You have heard that if you need some 'party pills' for the weekend a new colleague can sell you some.

What should you do?

1. Nothing. No one is using any drugs at work so that's okay

Wrong. Please try again.

2. I'd report this. No one should be selling drugs at work

Right answer because:

Our Code makes it clear that we will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse. And it specifically prohibits the selling of drugs at work:

"Never use, possess, sell or distribute illegal drugs or substances or abuse alcohol at work."

We want to create a workplace that is free from substance abuse, so we can protect people from its consequences. It is imperative that as an organisation, we challenge wrong behaviour.

Speak Up if you think drug selling is happening at work. It's your duty to do so, and you are responsible for reporting violations of our Code when you become aware of them.

3. I'll have a word, he's new and maybe doesn't know he shouldn't do this

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 1

You suspect that a friend and colleague is abusing their prescription medication. They seem lethargic and are making mistakes in their work that are very out of character.

Who should you talk to?

1. I'd talk to some colleagues to see what they think

Wrong. Please try again.

2. I'd talk to my Manager. I may be wrong about my friend, but what if I was right?

Right answer because:

While it's a difficult situation, if what you suspect is true then your friend needs help. Failing to act could result in them making mistakes that could harm them or their colleagues. It could also mean that Serco does not carry out its business as it should.

We will try to help you if you have a substance abuse problem, but you should also help yourself, and comply with our requirements.

If we look at those requirements, our Code tells your colleague clearly that we expect everyone to:

  • Come to work free from alcohol, drugs, or other substances which could affect your performance
  • Let us know if your doctor has prescribed drugs or medication that may impair your performance. We won't penalise you, but we do need to make sure you and those you work with are safe.

Your colleague isn't doing this.

Our Code also tells you clearly:

  • Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so.

So you should talk to your line manager or Human Resources about this, before any harm is done. That's also the best way to help your friend.

Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so.

3. I'd talk to my friend and see if my assumptions are correct

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 2

A colleague turns up for work looking unwell. You can smell alcohol on his breath. He's about to start using potentially dangerous equipment. You check if he's okay, and he assured you he's absolutely fine.

Do you need to do anything else?

1. Absolutely! This could create a danger for him and others. It must be stopped at once

Right answer because:

Our Code tells us that we should all "come to work free from alcohol, drugs, or other substances, which could affect your performance."

It also requires us to "Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others."

"Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others."

It's important to know that we will try to help those with problems, and we can't do that unless we know.

But we have particular policies to protect people from the consequences of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse, and we must and will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

In this case, there's real danger that this colleague could do harm. So despite your colleague's words, you must report your concern immediately. If you don't, you are risking his safety and the safety of others.

 

2. I'd try to get him doing something less dangerous

Wrong. Please try again.

3. No, he said he's fine and he knows how strict we are about working under the influence

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 3

You think a friend at work has a drink problem, but you're not sure.

What should you do?

1. Nothing. What he does in his own time is his own business

Wrong. Please try again.

2. Have a word with him to see if you're right

Wrong. Please try again.

3. I'd talk to my Manager. I may have got this wrong but it's best to be safe

Right answer because:

You're right to flag this straight away. If your friend does have a problem, they may need help, and it's important to try to sort this out before they harm themselves or others.

You should let your line manager or Human Resources department know. Our Code makes it clear that we will try to help anyone if they have a substance abuse problem, but they should also help themselves, and comply with our requirements.

Our Code tells your friend to "Seek professional help as soon as possible if you have a drug or alcohol problem, and comply with all our requirements for your recovery." It also makes it clear that:

"We will respect your privacy as far as possible if you are undergoing treatment."

"We will work with you to try to return you to your pre-treatment duties, or to an alternative job if that isn't possible."

And it tells all of us to:

"Speak Up if you suspect substance abuse by others. It's your duty to do so."

Substance misuse presents major health and safety risks in the workplace, so we must act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse.

If we think it's necessary, we will put procedures in place to prevent it. These can include screening for drugs or alcohol.

Dilemma 4

You have heard that if you need some 'party pills' for the weekend a new colleague can sell you some.

What should you do?

1. Nothing. No one is using any drugs at work so that's okay

Wrong. Please try again.

2. I'd report this. No one should be selling drugs at work

Right answer because:

Our Code makes it clear that we will act to ensure our people can work in a place that's safe, healthy and free from substance misuse. And it specifically prohibits the selling of drugs at work:

"Never use, possess, sell or distribute illegal drugs or substances or abuse alcohol at work."

We want to create a workplace that is free from substance abuse, so we can protect people from its consequences. It is imperative that as an organisation, we challenge wrong behaviour.

Speak Up if you think drug selling is happening at work. It's your duty to do so, and you are responsible for reporting violations of our Code when you become aware of them.

3. I'll have a word, he's new and maybe doesn't know he shouldn't do this

Wrong. Please try again.