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Overview

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees’ health, safety and welfare. 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.

What the issues are and what to look out for

Misuse is not the same thing as dependence. Drug and alcohol misuse is the use of illegal drugs and misuse of alcohol, medicines and substances such as solvents.

Consider these warning signs, which could indicate drug or alcohol misuse:

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

These can also be signs of other things, like stress or illness.

Updated 2019-05-08