Alcohol Policy At Work: Significance and Purpose
14 August, 2023
Safety should be every employer’s top priority. The workplace should be a safe place where employees can work as easily as possible without having to worry or stress too much about the likelihood of accidents. Alcohol and drugs are high-risk factors. Their consumption reduces an employee’s control and makes them more prone to accidents. A good alcohol policy at work will keep employees safe and ensure a high level of quality and efficiency.
Restricting the use of alcohol and drugs at work will greatly lower risks. Sober employees are more aware of what they are doing and can control themselves better. Additionally, they will produce greater quality work. Good alcohol policies thus protect both workers and employers. In this article, you will learn about the importance of drug and alcohol policies, various testing methods, and safe ways to consume alcohol.
Importance and Purpose of Alcohol Policy at Work
Having a drug and alcohol policy at work is paramount to addressing sensitive matters pertaining to medical health conditions, substance abuse, and more. It is crucial in dealing with concerns that come with safety-related issues. Having this policy on drugs and alcohol at work helps the management to handle issues effectively within the organisation.
Furthermore, a drug and alcohol policy aims to ensure a safe workplace. Drinking on the job can be very dangerous. In workplaces that use heavy machinery, operators need to have their full attention and capabilities. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol could severely impair someone and reduce their ability to safely work.
Drugs and alcohol can reduce efficiency as well. Even if there are no safety issues, being under the influence or intoxicated lowers a person’s effectiveness. They will be slower to accomplish tasks and complete them with lower quality. A policy that prevents drug and alcohol use will keep the workplace operating at higher productivity rates.
Benefits and Uses
Policy about alcohol at work is a set of guidelines and rules that are to follow in order to:
- Raise awareness about the use of alcohol and drug and the risks.
- Eliminate the consequences or hazards of alcohol misuse in the workplace.
- Ensure that employees are not impaired by alcohol.
- Assures the employees about their personal health, safety and security at work.
- Letting the employees be aware of the support available in the company and which disciplinary procedures apply.
- Guide the employees in things that they can and cannot do.
- Provides guidance to the management about necessary guidelines they should follow.
Alcohol Policy at Work: Testing Methods
For alcohol policy at work, there are several common testing methods that are conducted. Depending on your company policy and preference, they may choose any of these tests. Firstly, the blood test. It can detect alcoholic drinks within the past 24 hours. This is conducted by medical professionals in a laboratory.
Secondly, the saliva test. It detects the presence of the substance in the saliva for 10 to 24 hours. Thirdly, the breath test is the most common way of testing alcohol used by police officers or employers. The individual being tested blows into a small device called a breathalyser. Therefore, the breath test measures the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level through a breath sample.
Fourthly, the hair test detects illicit substances in the blood vessels in the scalp. This test can identify alcohol use up to 90 days ago. It is used for determining past consumption. Lastly, the urine test identifies the presence of alcohol or drugs in a person’s urine.
How to Manage Results
Once you conduct an alcohol test, you have to know what to do with the samples and results. Breathalysers will give results immediately, whereas tests like urine and blood will have to go to a lab for analysis. These tests can take up to a few days to return results.
After samples are tested, a medical professional will have to review the results. This will help ensure accuracy and a good understanding of what the test says. It also accounts for prescription medications that the employee may be on. If an employee tests positive, you should follow your policy as needed.
Alcohol Policy at Work: Safe Consumption
While alcohol does have its risks, it is still popular to consume. Many people drink casually without it hurting their work or life. There are scenarios where alcohol consumption may be safe. If you want to allow moderate consumption of alcohol among your employees, be sure to be very explicit about it in your alcohol policy at work. You should address all potential scenarios where you will allow it, and be clear about tolerance and expectations.
Some companies with low-risk work environments may permit employees to drink during lunch. Going out with a client or coworker during lunch and having a beer is usually a safe and responsible way to drink. As long as the employee limits himself to avoid getting inebriated at all and can safely return to work, this can be an acceptable practice.
Company functions are another acceptable scenario for drinking. If there is a company party, some employees may wish to drink. Again, as long as they stay well within their limit, this can be safe. Be sure to outline situations like this in your policy.
Safety is always the number one concern. Whenever alcohol is involved, there is a heightened risk of accidents. Even when drinking responsibly, alcohol limits a person’s mental and physical control. In order to ensure maximum safety, it is always best to err on the side of caution. If you think alcohol will be too great of a safety risk, do not permit employees to drink.
If you work in a dangerous environment, you can use a breathalyser when employees come in to work. This will make sure they are fully sober before they start working.
Every company should have a drug and alcohol policy at work. They should review it periodically to ensure it stays relevant and effective. Alcohol use can drastically impair a person’s ability to control themselves. They may have reduced motor skills. Their mental functions will also diminish, leading to poorer decisions. Even if there are no accidents, intoxicated employees are less effective. Therefore, it is important for companies to have a policy in place that limits alcohol use at work.
A good policy will keep the workplace safe and effective. Employees deserve to be able to work without stressing over their safety. Added risk factors like intoxication create unnecessary problems in the workplace. Responsible alcohol consumption can be acceptable, but it should never come at the price of safety. For the safest workspace, all drug and alcohol use should be prohibited on or around the job.