Corporate Drug and Alcohol Policy: What is Usually Covered?
19 October, 2023
A corporate drug and alcohol policy helps employers provide a safe working environment. It helps them to identify those misusing substances starting from pre-employment and throughout their employment. A comprehensive workplace policy should inform the employee of its goals, objectives, and scope. Furthermore, it details the tests to be used, the corresponding disciplinary actions, and employee education and assistance. In doing so, the company promotes a healthy working environment for everyone in the workplace.
Substance abuse impairs employees in many ways. It can affect their judgment, coordination, and cognitive abilities. This is why it causes accidents and endangers the individual and those around them. It is essential to determine the causes of accidents to reduce the likelihood of their occurrences. This article will present procedures, disciplinary actions, and employee education and assistance as some points that are usually covered in workplace policies.
Corporate Drug and Alcohol Policy: Procedures
Companies use several testing methods to determine substance use. A corporate drug and alcohol policy must state the different screening types the company will use. Employees must be informed and consent to these procedures before they are subjected to them. Moreover, during pre-employment, job postings should indicate this as one of the requirements for a job offer.
The most common test is the urine test. It uses urine samples to detect traces of substances within 24 to 72 hours. Another method is the saliva or mouth swab test. This test has a detection window of 12 hours. On the more costly side are the hair and blood tests. Hair follicle tests show the substance use history of an individual for up to 90 days.
Furthermore, blood tests provide the most accurate results. Blood tests typically trace substances for up to 12 hours. However, PEth and CDT blood tests offer up to four weeks. Lastly, breath tests measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of an individual for up to 24 hours.
Occurrences When Companies Do Substance Use Tests
There are certain instances when companies may conduct drug and alcohol screenings. These are some of them:
- Pre-employment: This allows the company to identify high-risk individuals, especially in industries such as mining and aviation.
- After accidents: Doing tests after accidents allows the company to determine if substance use contributed to the accident. It also helps provide evidence and pinpoint the fault to prevent future mishap.
- Random: Workplaces may select people randomly for an unannounced drug test.
- With reasonable suspicion: Companies are allowed to test individuals with symptoms of substance use disorder to maintain workplace safety.
Corporate Drug and Alcohol Policy: Disciplinary Action
A corporate drug and alcohol policy must detail the disciplinary action for those who violate the policy. The policy should state all the rules and regulations in the workplace. Consequences of breaking the policy may include warnings, suspensions, or termination. The corresponding punishment may depend on the frequency of the violation, damage caused, or the severity of substance use.
Moreover, this policy should include the steps to be taken if the employee tests positive for drugs and alcohol. To avoid the risks of false-positive results, it may be beneficial to do follow-up tests. It may also be helpful to utilise more than one method from the onset. Urine tests may be followed by a blood test to solidify the evidence of substance use.
Lastly, the disciplinary action should be enforced consistently and fairly among all employees. Seniority should not become a reason to escape penalties, or it may serve as a faulty precedence. Furthermore, it may lead some to disregard the rules due to their status. This may cause strained relationships and remove the safety brought by a substance use policy.
Workplaces often have drug and alcohol policies to mitigate legal risks. The employer must provide a safe and healthy workplace. Moreover, this responsibility includes employees and independent contractors. It is best to consult legal professionals to ensure the policy complies with state and federal laws.
Furthermore, the workplace must ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the results. Only authorised personnel should handle non-negative results to protect employee rights. Employees with substance use disorders should not be discriminated against. The entirety of the company gains benefits by strictly implementing a fair and unbiased drug and alcohol policy.
Corporate Drug and Alcohol Policy: Employee Education and Assistance Programs
A vital part of a corporate drug and alcohol policy is supporting employees. To begin with, these policies are implemented for the safety of everyone. Thus, to reinforce this, companies may implement education programs to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. This will help discourage alcohol and drug misuse and promote a safe working environment.
Additionally, training helps the individual recognise possibly unsafe behaviour. This gives them a better judgment of their capabilities. It also informs them of the expectations regarding their substance use. This should be communicated to them to avoid future incidents. Establishing this will also raise more caution regarding their behaviours.
Moreover, employees with substance use disorders should be referred to professional assistance. These services include counselling or supplying them with resources to help their drug and alcohol problems. Doing so will allow them to improve their performance and protect workplace safety. It also fosters a workplace environment built on compassion and understanding for employees.
Benefits of Having a Substance Use Policy
There are many benefits to having a substance use policy. Firstly, it deters the substance use of employees. This allows them to avoid the adverse health risks of drugs and alcohol. Moreover, it improves the overall employee productivity. Liquor and illegal drugs may heavily impair the abilities of the worker. They also contribute to tardiness and absenteeism among employees.
Furthermore, one effect of substance use is mood irritability and instability. Enforcing a workplace substance policy improves interpersonal relationships and improves morale. Lastly, it reduces the overall costs for the company due to lessened healthcare costs and legal fees.
A corporate drug and alcohol policy is vital to high-risk industries like mining, aviation, construction, and transportation. It can be held during pre-employment, after accidents, with reasonable suspicion, or randomly. These tests allow the company to identify those with substance use disorders and support them. A comprehensive company policy provides fair and unbiased disciplinary action to all employees. Doing this makes employees more cautious of their substance use to avoid consequences such as warnings, suspensions, and termination.
However, the company must ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the results. This allows them to mitigate legal risks and promotes fairness in the workplace. Providing education and training regarding substance use helps the company improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. To ensure their safety, employees may use personal breathalysers. This allows them to assess their capability to work. BACtrack breathalysers from Breathalysers Australia are reliable devices for measuring BAC levels.