I work for a very small company that is involved in manufacturing. One of our employees has started disappearing at lunchtimes and has been seen entering a nearby pub, obviously, we suspect he’s having a drink but we have no evidence of this. As we are only small, we have no specific HR department, just the general manager and myself (marketing) in the office. As such, we have only a very basic contract of employment which doesn’t contain any clauses on alcohol consumption, nor does our health and safety policy (signed by all employees) which is very generic.

This particular employee operates a punching machine which is quite a hefty, dangerous peice of equipment. We’re aware that we are open to prosecution if he is allowed to operate the machinery whilst under the influence of excess alcohol and will have issues with the validity of our insurance. He’s been told to do other menial tasks whilst we decide how to approach things – he is as yet unaware of our suspicions.

So, my question is what’s the best way to approach things without leaving ourselves vunerable to unfair dismissal issues etc?!