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Employer’s Guide to Drug Abuse in Ireland


The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in Ireland published The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which covers how employers and employees should respond if someone is intoxicated due to illegal or legal drugs, or alcohol at work.

It states that it is the employer’s duty, “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of all employees. This includes managing and conducting work activities to prevent improper conduct or behaviour likely to put employees at risk.”

It is the employee’s duty to ensure that they are not intoxicated at work. This is particularly true when their intoxication could result in damage to their own, or any other’s health, safety or wellbeing.

If an employer notices that an employee seems ‘under the weather’, and suspects that it is due to intoxication from drugs or alcohol, they can use their discretion when deciding how to respond. If the employee is undertaking a safety critical job, such as operating machinery, then it is crucial that they are sent home.

In cases where they are not carrying out a safety critical job, the employer still has a duty of care to both them and other employees, meaning that they must make a risk assessment of the employee’s behaviour and judge how best to respond to the situation.

As an employee, if you notice someone clearly intoxicated at work, then it is your responsibility to report this behaviour to a superior.

The Importance of Clear Policy

The HSE Ireland encourages workplaces to devise policies which help to promote health and wellbeing among employees. An example could be setting up an Employee Assistance Programme. The HSE UK advises that every company come up with a ‘policy on drug misuse’ as part of their Health and Safety Policy. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation’s Global Action plan recommends that every employee should be able to access to a health consultation service at work.

Professional Support and Rehab Treatment, Ireland

Fortunately experienced help is only a phone call away. At Smarmore Castle, we offer:

  • Assessment of your employee’s addiction problems,
  • Advice for companies, head management, and HR staff on how to manage the situation effectively,
  • Help organising an intervention,
  • Intensive, inpatient treatment at our residential rehab facility, near Dublin.

For more information about how to help an employee suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, please call our admissions team, who are available 24/7 to answer your queries.


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Smarmore Castle is located near Ardee, County Louth, about 45 minutes north of Dublin, Republic of Ireland and 1.5 hours south of Belfast, Northern Ireland.