Sample Drug and Alcohol Policy: Objectives, Types of Tests, and Disciplinary Actions
16 November, 2023
Substance abuse in the workplace has severe consequences, including decreased productivity, increased accidents, and potential legal liabilities. The objective of the sample drug and alcohol policy is to ensure workplace safety and well-being of employees. To do this, companies may use blood, breath, urine, saliva, and breath tests to check if employees are misusing substances. If they receive a positive result, they may receive sanctions ranging from warnings to termination.
A substance abuse policy serves as a guideline regarding the procedures the company is implementing to create a productive workplace free from the influence of alcohol and drugs. They may include a code of behaviour for employees so they may understand the expectations placed on them. Furthermore, it helps companies establish education and support programs to prevent substance misuse among workers. This article will present the objectives, types of tests, and disciplinary actions in a sample substance abuse policy.
Sample Drug and Alcohol Policy – Objectives and Goals
A sample drug and alcohol policy outlines the objectives and goals of an organisation regarding drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace. This policy aims to create a safe and healthy work environment by preventing substance misuse issues. The foremost objective is to promote employee well-being. Misuse of liquor, prescription medication, and illicit drugs has many adverse effects on individuals. It may affect their physical and mental capabilities and contribute to poor job performance.
Another objective companies may include is to prevent accidents and injuries. Companies are legally required to ensure the safety of their employees. Thus, they must establish rules for employees and procedures to prevent incidents from occurring. In addition, they must determine the cause of incidents to avoid repeating a similar cause.
The goals may involve implementing substance use testing procedures to detect improper use of substances. Furthermore, they may include providing education and awareness programs as another goal. These may improve understanding regarding the safety risks brought by substance misuse.
Code of Behaviour for Employees
The code of behaviour for employees outlines what the company expects from them regarding substance use. Here are some rules:
- Possessing or selling liquor, illegal drugs, and drug paraphernalia is prohibited on company premises.
- Employees must not consume alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs during working hours.
- Workers must not report to work while intoxicated or impaired by illicit substances.
- Employees must report impaired workers to their managers, supervisors, or safety representatives.
- Workers must report incidents and state if there is someone involved who was impaired by substances.
- Employees must inform their direct supervisors about prescription medications, which may affect test results.
Sample Drug and Alcohol Policy – Types of Tests to Detect Substance Use
Employers may include which alcohol and drug tests they wish to add to their sample drug and alcohol policy. Furthermore, they may add which substances will be traced by the tests. Some commonly detected substances include ethanol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids and phencyclidine.
Breath tests measure Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels using breathalysers. These devices have a detection window of up to 24 hours. A urine test is commonly used during workplace testing. This is because urine samples retain traces of various substances, and urine tests also have a detection window of 24 hours. In contrast, saliva tests have a detection period of 12 hours. However, many companies use this because its non-invasive and quick collection procedure suits onsite testing.
Meanwhile, hair tests and blood tests generally require laboratory analysis. These also provide valuable information that companies may benefit from. Hair tests have a detection window of 90 days, which helps in acquiring a history of substance use. Meanwhile, blood tests are known for their accuracy. Typically, they only have a 12-hour detection period. However, carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) and Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) tests increase the ethanol detection period to weeks.
Reasons to Conduct a Test
Companies may have several reasons and grounds for conducting tests. Many employers implement pre-employment testing to ensure responsible applicants are assigned to safety-critical positions. In addition, companies may conduct random testing on their current employees. Unannounced tests deter the irresponsible use of substances.
Furthermore, employers may employ tests when there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication and impairment. Lastly, companies conduct tests after a workplace accident or a near miss. This helps provide evidence regarding the cause of the incident. Moreover, the results may help improve the current company policy and procedures. This allows them to avoid legal liabilities.
Sample Drug and Alcohol Policy – Sanction for a Positive Result
Another crucial part of a sample drug and alcohol policy is the sanctions for a positive result. A positive result indicates a violation of the policy. However, some companies offer confirmatory testing to refute a positive result. This enables employees to prove their innocence and avoid undue consequences from a false positive result.
The disciplinary action for a positive test result will depend on what is written on the policy and the severity of the violation. Generally, sanctions range from warnings to termination. Warnings often occur during the first mild violations. Verbal warnings are the lighter option, while written warnings leave documentation of the offence. Another possible sanction is a demotion. This may occur if the current job is a safety-critical position.
Furthermore, suspensions are another course of disciplinary action. These leave time for the employee to reflect on their behaviour. It also provides an opportunity to seek help and treatment from medical professionals. Lastly, termination is the most severe sanction. This may occur after multiple offences or a large-scale accident.
Offering Treatment and Recovery Options
Employers may support their workers by establishing Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These include providing counselling and support towards treatment. Counselling and support groups help individuals during rehabilitation. Furthermore, they assist in preventing relapse. In addition, doctors may prescribe medication to help overcome addiction and lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms.
Substance abuse has devastating effects on individuals and companies. However, employers promote a caring and supportive system by allowing employees to recover. This may improve morale and work culture. The recovery process varies from person to person. Nevertheless, by providing support, companies may see an increase in productivity and a reduction in turnover rate.
A sample drug and alcohol policy helps to improve occupational health in the company. It accomplishes this by reducing accidents, identifying those with substance misuse problems, and helping the company comply with the applicable laws and standards. By strictly monitoring substance use with drug and alcohol tests, companies deter employees from irresponsible consumption of alcohol, medications, and illegal drugs. They may use breath, hair, blood, urine, and saliva tests to accomplish this.
Furthermore, a company policy may outline when testing may occur. This is another effective prevention tactic. In particular, random testing may help with providing early intervention and preventing accidents. Some companies may benefit from using workplace breathalysers for quick but accurate measurement of BAC levels. Employees must understand the risks of substance misuse. To help them, companies may conduct education and awareness programs. They may also provide EAPs to assist with recovery and rehabilitation.