Nowadays, it’s likely that more and more employees are taking prescribed and/or over the counter drugs. This is due to the high rise in the number of depression and anxiety cases in recent years.

Physicians often think it is unethical to refuse to prescribe medication that will help relieve a patients symptoms and with their time spread thin, they are more likely to hand out prescriptions than they are to look for alternative treatments. This means that there’s a high chance a percentage of your workforce is medicated.

Most medication has side effects, whether its prescribed or over the counter, that can effect an employees ability to carry out their usual day to day tasks safely and also put others around them at a higher risk of harm. Some of the main side effects that could effect their work are sickness, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and impaired judgement.

Some tasks are restricted when taking certain medication e.g. those who are prescribed Opioids ( powerful pain relief) are prohibited from operating machinery or drive vehicles. This is because Opioids interact with a persons pain receptors in their head and spinal cord, which gives side effects such as drowsiness, loss of concentration and reduce reaction times.

As an Employer, its important to know what your work force is taking, that could effect theirs and everyone’s safety. It’s important to remember that not all medications have the same side effects and that some have very little, so assess each risk on a case-by-case basis.