Workplace policies on smoking, drugs and alcohol

Checklist: workplace smoking, drugs and alcohol policies


All policies need to take account of specific workplace circumstances and the views obtained during the consultation process with employees.

It is probably best to have a stand alone smoking policy for your business.

Download guidance including a sample workplace smoking policy (DOC, 32KB).

You'll need to decide whether to have separate drugs and alcohol misuse policies or a combined one. There are legal differences between drugs and alcohol, but they affect the workplace in a similar way. For this reason they are both dealt with using similar procedures.

Download a sample workplace drugs and alcohol policy (PDF, 114K).

If you are writing a combined policy it is important that it clearly states that it applies to both alcohol and drug misuse. This is to make sure that it isn't ignored by workers who don't see it as relevant to them.

The list below may act as a guide to what a policy on smoking, drugs or alcohol should include:

  • Aims - explains why the policy is needed.
  • Scope - to whom does it apply to and what it covers.
  • Responsibility - who has overall responsibility for the policy - management and employees' responsibilities. 
  • Definition and principles - defines what a problem is and what the general principles of the policy are.
  • The rules - how the business expects employees to behave to ensure that smoking/drugs/alcohol doesn't affect their work. 
  • Safeguards - outlines what safeguards apply for employees.
  • Procedures - details what procedures are in place for dealing with problems. 
  • Education and training - detail how staff will be made aware of the policy and how it will operate.
  • Safety critical jobs - there should be a definition of safety critical jobs. 
  • Disciplinary procedures - the policy should make it clear when disciplinary procedures are likely to be used. 
  • Information - provides information about the effects of smoking/drugs/alcohol on health and safety. 
  • Alcohol and drug testing - if it is intended to introduce drug and alcohol testing, the rationale, safeguards and procedures need to be explicitly stated. 
  • Help - the arrangements for employees who need help and support should be described. 

Download a sample drugs and alcohol policy template (DOC, 16K).