You may not be able to secure everything on this checklist – if that is the case, you may wish to consult members on whether the proposed policy is sufficiently positive to be acceptable. 


  • Does the policy set out the employer’s overall commitment to safety, good employee relations and the promotion of health, safety, and welfare at work?
  • Is there a commitment from the employer to encourage an open dialogue between the employee and their line manager?


  • Does the policy explain why it’s needed?
  • Does the policy aim to create an environment that encourages who may be misusing drugs or alcohol to come forward and seek help?
  • Does it provide a framework to deal with instances of substance misuse by employees in an appropriate, fair, and consistent manner?


  • Does the policy make clear to whom it applies and what it covers?

Equal opportunities

  • Does the policy make clear that the Drugs and Alcohol policy will be applied in accordance with employment law and the employer’s equal opportunities policy?


  • Who has overall responsibility?
  • Are management and employee responsibilities clearly defined?

At work

  • Is it clear how the employer expects employees to behave to ensure smoking, drugs, alcohol doesn’t affect their work?
  • If the manager reasonably believes that an employee has arrived at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs and sends the employee home after consultation with the headteacher/principal, this absence should be treated as sick leave with full sick pay applied in accordance with the employer’s sick pay policy.
  • It is important to note that an employee who may have a condition such as epilepsy, brain injuries, diseases can at times appear drunk and therefore, due care should be taken to identify and respond to these individuals appropriately.

Outside of work

  • Is the policy clear that employees must not consume intoxicating substances before coming on duty?


  • The arrangements for employees who may need help and support should be set out in the policy.

Breaches of the policy

  • Is there a commitment from the employer that they will adopt a constructive and supportive approach when dealing with employees who may be experiencing drug or alcohol dependency/addiction?
  • It should be clear when disciplinary procedures are likely to be used.


  • Is there a review date?
  • Does it state that recognised trade unions will be consulted?
Health and safety
Drug and alcohol policy checklist

Drug and alcohol policy checklist