Drug & alcohol awareness training: what managers need to know

Managers can benefit from drug and alcohol awareness training so they are alert to changes in performance and changes in patterns of attendance.

Drugs and alcohol can affect a worker’s fitness for duty. Some drugs will mean workers respond to some things quickly – others cause workers to not react at all. Some drugs will stop a worker from walking properly, or standing up, or staying awake. Some drugs will make a person unconscious, or even die.

All drugs can be harmful and can affect the way the body works and how the mind thinks. For this reason, you have to be very sure that any drugs workers are taking will not put them or anyone else in danger in the workplace.

If they are given a drug they need by the doctor, and they are taking it as the doctor has instructed, it can help them do their job better. For example, if they have asthma, and use their medication properly, it can mean they will not have an asthma attack so they do not have to take time off work.

If workers have epileptic fits from time to time, the tablets the doctor prescribes can stop this happening, making work safer for them and for others.

Using alcohol or drugs at work can affect fitness for duty, causing workers to make mistakes. This can cause big problems. They or other people could get hurt, or the work they do might have to be thrown out and done again by someone else. This would mean that your workplace loses money.

Drug and alcohol awareness training can help managers recognise signs of drug use. Here are some things that can happen at work if workers use drugs that they should not use, or drink alcohol, affecting fitness for duty:

  • workers could hurt themselves or anyone else around the workplace.
  • workers could make a mistake with their work and cause your workplace lose a lot of money.
  • it can have a bad effect on you and others around them

A few of the things that could happen to workers if they take drugs they should not be taking, or drink alcohol at work, are:

  • they can get very tired and stop thinking clearly.
  • their speech could get slurred.
  • they can feel sick and could vomit.
  • they can stop thinking quickly and become unsafe.
  • they can start to feel very confused and act differently than they normally would.
  • they may move more slowly than usual.
  • they could get angry
  • they won’t be able to operate machinery and equipment safely and could have an accident.

Managers should consider drug and alcohol awareness training to prevent unfortunate mishaps at work. For example, workers who take drugs or drink alcohol at work could also have a bad effect on other people:

  • they might make someone else have an accident
  • a worker might ruin someone else’s work or property
  • they could scare other people or they might feel uncomfortable
  • other workers may not want to work with them

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