Support services firm Mitie Group is introducing a drug and alcohol training programme to help staff kick addictions. It is providing staff with counselling services, both internally and externally, and quick access to treatment. Andy May, head of health and safety at Mitie, said that the company took action following a local drug action team’s assertion that drug addicts and alcoholics were more likely to get help if they were still in employment. "On the one hand it supports us as employer, and it supports our employees in resolving a health problem, it allows us to assist them in hopefully kicking the problem," he said.
May admitted that he expected there to be a number of Mitie’s 29,000 UK employees with such problems. He added that he was aware of a few safety-related incidents where alcohol and drugs were suspected as being the cause. May says: "I’m conscious we may open Pandora’s box in going down this road, but you’re turning a blind eye otherwise. We need to manage it, we need to recognise there are going to be people with these problems". The company will encourage local HR teams across the country to be in charge. But he added that it would be easier for some than others. "In certain parts of the country, it’s going to be difficult for us, for instance in Glasgow there’s a year’s waiting list to get into the treatment side of things but by signing up to this they are able to point us to other ways." May added that the Drug and Alcohol Training Service-run scheme would not be used by Mitie as a stepping stone to compulsory drug testing.