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Company Alcohol Policy Example: Key Elements To Include

10 November, 2023

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Alcohol consumption in the workplace can have significant consequences for employees and employers. Companies must establish a clear company alcohol policy example to address and prevent alcohol abuse during working hours and company-sponsored events. Some key elements they must include are objectives, goals, the types of tests, and procedures after a positive result. This may effectively inform employees about the dedication of the company to workplace safety and company expectations for their behaviour.

Employers must ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace. To do this, they may conduct testing during various periods of employment. They may utilise breath, urine, saliva, blood, and hair testing to identify those suffering from alcohol-related issues. This article will present what key elements should be included in their policy, such as the objectives and goals, the types of tests, and the steps in handling a positive result.

Company Alcohol Policy Example: Objectives and Goals

A company alcohol policy example is crucial for reducing workplace adverse events and creating a safer workplace. This is vital for high-risk industries such as construction, mining, and transportation. A policy must clearly outline the objectives and goals of the company regarding alcohol consumption. Its scope may encompass employees, visitors, and contractors.

One objective can be promoting responsible consumption of alcohol. This is beneficial for preventing abuse of alcohol. It may involve the establishment of education and training programs. Protecting the well-being of everyone in the workplace is another possible objective. Lastly, preventing the negative impacts of substance misuse on the company is another option.

Meanwhile, goals may include enforcing compliance with a code of behaviour for employees. In addition, observing compliance with state and national laws is another goal employers may work towards. Another option for a goal is to mitigate legal risk from alcohol-related accidents. With a comprehensive policy, a company may help effectively manage and prevent potential risks. It will also help create a healthy work environment.

Code of Behaviour for Employees

A code of behaviour for employees sets clear expectations and guidelines for how workers should conduct themselves in the workplace. Here are some items companies may add to their policy:

  • Prohibition on selling liquor within company premises.
  • Employees must not consume alcoholic beverages or illicit substances at work.
  • Workers must not be under the influence of alcohol during business hours.
  • Employees must report suspected intoxicated individuals during work hours. They may report to a manager, supervisor, or a safety representative,
  • Individuals must report incidents and specify if they suspect that someone involved was impaired or intoxicated by liquor.

A sample collector gathering oral fluid samples

Company Alcohol Policy Example: Types of Tests as a Preventive Measure

A company alcohol policy example should include the types of testing procedures employers may use and when they may conduct alcohol tests. A urine test is considered the standard for workplace testing. It uses urine samples to detect traces of ethanol within 24 hours of the last intake. Moreover, using ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test may extend the detection window to 80 hours.

Another test employers use as a preventive measure is saliva tests. This uses saliva samples to detect traces of liquor for up to 12 hours. Many employers use this for its convenience and easy collection method. Another test that offers convenience is breath tests. During these tests, individuals provide breath samples by blowing into a breathalyser. Their sensors may detect liquor intake for up to 24 hours.

Hair follicle tests help determine the history of alcohol use. This is because it has a detection window of 90 days. Lastly, blood tests are considered the most accurate tests. Typically, they have a detection window of 12 hours. However, using carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) and Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) tests may extend the detection period to weeks.

Reasons to Conduct a Test

Several reasons may prompt employers to conduct alcohol testing. Firstly, they may screen applicants during pre-employment. This allows them to identify individuals who are more prone to reckless behaviours. Secondly, they may conduct random testing using a computer program to select the participants for an unannounced test.

Thirdly, they may test individuals under reasonable suspicion. This occurs when an employee exhibits outward signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech and uncoordinated movements. Lastly, employers may conduct a test after an accident or near miss. This allows them to gather evidence and determine the cause of the incident.

A manager handing over the results of a test

Company Alcohol Policy Example: What Happens After A Positive Result

Employers must include what steps will occur if employees receive a positive result in their company alcohol policy example. A non-negative result indicates the consumption of liquor and may count as proof of a policy violation. However, employers must ensure the results of all tests are confidential. To maintain the privacy of individuals, only the employee and relevant staff should be privy to this information.

In addition, individuals may petition for confirmatory testing to prove their innocence. This helps prevent people from experiencing undue consequences from false positives. Typically, more invasive alcohol testing procedures, such as hair and blood tests, are used in confirmatory testing. This is because they provide lengthier detection periods.

However, if the positive result is proven true, employees may face sanctions for their violations. In addition, employers may offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help people recover from alcohol misuse problems. Employers may improve morale and demonstrate fairness by enforcing the policy strictly, regardless of position.

Sanctions and Potential Recovery Options

Typically, employers use warnings, suspensions, and termination as their methods of disciplinary action. Verbal or written warnings are often used during the first violations. Written warnings ensure documentation of the violation. After a set amount of violations, employers may also suspend to give the employee time to reflect or seek help. Lastly, termination is the most severe sanction.

As part of rehabilitation, people may attend counselling sessions and support groups. Employers may offer EAPs or access to counselling services to support them in overcoming their alcohol abuse problems. This will allow them to return to work healthy and more productive.

Conclusion

A company alcohol policy example must be clear and contain key elements to help prevent safety risks caused by the effects of alcohol. Its objectives may include promoting responsible alcohol intake. The goals may also include mitigating legal risks from liquor-related incidents. Furthermore, a code of behaviour may help the employees understand what the company expects from them during working hours. By ensuring employees are not intoxicated during work, companies may see a rise in their performance and productivity.

Regular alcohol tests are helpful deterrents of alcohol misuse during business hours. Employers may use urine, saliva, and breath tests to quickly measure and determine if the employee is fit to work. However, the results should remain confidential to protect the privacy and rights of the worker. Some employers may benefit from using BACtrack breathalysers to measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of their workers.

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