truck-icon-red-banner

Same day local dispatch

australia-icon-red-banner

Australian owned

Breathalysers

1-3 year warranty

breathalyser

Australia's industry specialist

Alcohol And Drug Abuse Policy: What To Include

23 November, 2023

A gavel, worker's hat, and a book

Substance abuse has detrimental effects on the productivity and safety of a workplace. Thus, employers create an alcohol and drug abuse policy to prevent workplace drug and alcohol-related incidents. This helps protect everyone in the company as well as those in the community. In their policy, companies may include their objectives and goals, reasons for testing, and the testing methods they will use.

Companies must ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace. This includes employees, guests, and contractors. A substance abuse policy aids in maintaining a safe and productive work environment. It deters workers from misusing substances, which helps them avoid the adverse effects of substance abuse. To help with this, companies may also implement awareness programs. This article will present what companies should include in their substance abuse policies, such as objectives and goals, reasons for testing, and the different tests.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy – Objectives and Goals

An alcohol and drug abuse policy is crucial for any organisation to ensure the well-being and safety of its employees. This policy is an outline of what the stance of the company is on the consumption of alcohol and drugs in the workplace. In addition, it may cover employees, guests, and contractors who are on company premises. It may even include the code of conduct for current employees during company-sponsored events.

One objective of a substance abuse policy is to ensure workplace safety. The policy may help with this by deterring the misuse of substances and creating a healthy work environment. Workers who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs increase safety risks. Complying with the applicable laws and regulations is another objective a policy may have.

For goals, companies may aim to increase productivity and morale in their substance abuse policy. Often, excessive consumption of alcohol, prescription medicines, and illegal drugs causes various impairments to the mental and physical capability of the employee.  Another possible goal is to reduce the risk of accidents. Employers must establish safeguards to prevent alcohol or drug-related risks of harm to their employees.

Code of Conduct for the Employees

The code of conduct for employees lists the expected behaviour from workers while they carry out their duties. Here are some examples:

  • Employees must not consume liquor or illegal drugs on company premises or during company events.
  • Workers are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages and illicit substances into the workplace.
  • Employees must report all accidents or near misses to their managers or safety representatives. They must also state if they suspect someone involved was intoxicated or impaired.
  • Individuals must report if they are taking prescription drugs that may affect an alcohol and drug testing result.

A worker falling from a high place

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy – Reasons for Testing

Companies may include several reasons for testing in their alcohol and drug abuse policy. Firstly, many employers conduct a test during pre-employment. They make passing a test a job requirement to ensure responsible individuals occupy safety-critical positions. However, they must include this in their job description to inform potential applicants beforehand.

Secondly, companies do drug and alcohol testing when there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication or impairment. Some outward signs of intoxication include erratic behaviour, slurred speech, and uncoordinated movements. Thirdly, businesses may add random testing to their drug and alcohol policies. During this, employees are randomly selected for an unannounced test. This is particularly effective in discouraging substance misuse.

Lastly, companies conduct drug and alcohol testing after an incident or a near miss. This enables them to gather evidence regarding the cause of the accident. Furthermore, it helps them learn how to better their substance abuse policies. Ultimately, companies conduct screenings to ensure a healthy work environment. However, they must inform their workers about this in their policy.

Can an Employee Refuse a Test

There are some cases where an employee may refuse a test. However, consulting a legal professional or employee representative is ideal before refusing a test. They may help them understand their rights and guide them towards the best outcome. Some companies may permit individuals to request a different test for medical reasons.

Another crucial factor that determines if an employee can refuse a test is the relevant laws and regulations. Companies must ensure the safety of employees, so they conduct tests to protect the individual and everyone in the workplace. Safety legislation may indicate if the worker can or cannot refuse the test.

A professional conducting a mouth swab test

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy – Types of Tests to be Used

Employers may include the types of tests they wish to use in their alcohol and drug abuse policy. One commonly used screening method for workplace testing is a urine test. This uses urine samples to detect traces of ethanol. It has a detection window of 24 hours. However, an ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test increases this period to 80 hours.

Meanwhile, businesses often use oral fluid screening during onsite testing. It has a non-invasive and quick collection method and can trace substances consumed within 12 hours. The breath test is another convenient test that many companies use. Workplace breathalysers measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of the worker. This device can detect liquor intake for up to 24 hours.

Hair follicle testing helps companies acquire a history of substance use. It has the lengthiest detection window of 90 days. However, this does not include consumption seven days prior due to the nature of hair growth. Lastly, many consider blood tests as the most accurate screening method. It has a detection period of 12 hours. However, using Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) tests increases this to weeks.

What Happens After a Positive Result

Employees may face several consequences if they receive a non-negative result on the test. When the company receives the report, they must inform the employee while maintaining privacy and confidentiality. There, the employee may explain or refute the result. Some companies offer confirmatory testing to prevent undue consequences from false positives.

If the confirmatory test produces a negative result, the company may discard the initial report. However, a positive result indicates a violation of the policy. The disciplinary measures for a policy breach may range from warnings to termination. This depends on the assigned penalties written on the policy.

Conclusion

An alcohol and drug abuse policy is essential for ensuring workplace safety. Companies may consult legal professionals to help outline how they wish to deter misuse of substances among employees. One important part to include is the objectives and goals. This may involve aiming to reduce safety risks and improve productivity. Mitigating legal risks and ensuring compliance with laws is a possible objective. Businesses may also add a code of behaviour for their workers.

Furthermore, companies may add the possible reasons for testing employees. One instance is when there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication. They may also put into the policy what tests they may use to trace alcohol or drug misuse. They may select from blood, hair, breath, saliva, and urine tests. Lastly, they can include the steps they will take if an employee has a non-negative test result and the corresponding sanctions.

0
    Shopping Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Shipping options will be updated during checkout.

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Driving Restrictions? (P Platers, Zero Tolerance etc)

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?