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Sample Workplace Drug And Alcohol Policy: What Aspects Can Be Covered?

09 November, 2023

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A sample workplace drug and alcohol policy is crucial for maintaining a safe and productive workplace. Some aspects it should cover include clear objectives and goals, reasons to conduct a test, the types of tests, and substances to trace. One goal of a company policy can be to deter substance misuse among employees. This may help improve productivity and reduce the risks of accidents. To help realise this, employers may conduct testing at different periods in the employment.

Employers may select from several testing procedures to determine the consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs. Options include urine, saliva, breath, hair, and blood screenings. However, they must ensure the confidentiality of the results. Furthermore, they benefit from allowing confirmatory testing to avoid undue penalties for false positive results. This article will present the aspects employers may cover in their drug and alcohol policy, such as objectives and goals, reasons for tests, types of tests, and substances to trace.

Sample Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy – Clear Objectives and Goals

A sample workplace drug and alcohol policy should include clear objectives and goals. Employers must provide a safe working environment for everyone in the company. This includes employees, visitors, and contractors. Thus, everyone must follow the code of behaviour to create a safer workplace.

One objective of a company policy is to deter drug and alcohol misuse among employees. This will help reduce absenteeism, tardiness, and social tension. Another objective can be to improve workplace productivity. Misusing substances may cause physical and mental impairment. This limits the capabilities of workers leading to low productivity and morale. Moreover, identifying those with substance use disorders may also be an objective for a policy.

Furthermore, mitigating legal risks is another goal of a workplace policy. Employees may file legal complaints after suffering from an accident if the employer does not take action to prevent such situations. Lastly, a policy may aim to comply with relevant state and national laws and regulations. This is especially pertinent for industries like mining, transportation, and construction.

Code of Behaviour for Employers and Employees

The code of behaviour is a set of guidelines that lists the expectations and responsibilities of employers and workers. Here are some rules that can be included in a policy:

  • Workers must ensure they are sober during business hours.
  • Employees must report impaired or intoxicated individuals to a manager, supervisor, or safety representative.
  • Workers must inform a manager about prescription drugs that may hinder their work.
  • Any consumption of illegal drugs and liquor is prohibited during working hours.
  • Employers must practice fairness in testing and delivering results.
  • The company must ensure the confidentiality of any test report.

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Sample Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy – Reasons to Conduct a Test

An employer may include the reasons for conducting a test in their sample workplace drug and alcohol policy. There are several instances when companies may conduct a test. Firstly, they may include this as a requirement during pre-employment. This is crucial for many high-risk industries to assess if applicants are suitable for safety-critical positions. However, they must inform applicants of this requirement in their job posting.

Secondly, employers generally conduct tests after accidents or near misses. This enables them to gather evidence regarding the cause of the incident. Furthermore, it may provide insight to improve the policy and lessen the risk of accidents. Thirdly, companies do random drug and alcohol screenings. This is an effective deterrent for misusing substances among employees. Employers may use a computer program to select participants for an unannounced test.

Lastly, companies may test workers under reasonable suspicion. Individuals who show outward signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, erratic behaviours, or lack of coordination, should undergo a test to maintain a safe workplace.

Can an Employee Refuse a Test

Whether an employee can refuse a test will depend on the relevant company policy, regulations, and laws. In many cases, especially in high-risk industries, ensuring an employee is not under the influence of alcohol and drugs is crucial. Thus, employees may face sanctions if they refuse the test.

Sanctions may range from warnings, suspensions, or termination. This depends on the circumstances of the employee. Workers may consult legal professionals to gain a better understanding of their rights. One instance where refusing a test is acceptable is if a medical condition prevents them from providing the needed samples.

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Sample Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy – Types of Tests and Substances to Test for

One possible part of a sample workplace drug and alcohol policy is the types of tests and substances they will test for. Companies may use several testing procedures for accurate reports of drug and alcohol consumption. Urine testing is considered the standard method for alcohol and drug testing. This is because urine samples hold traces of substances for up to 24 hours and are less expensive than other methods.

Saliva screenings are typically used during onsite tests because of their convenient and less invasive collection procedure. Breath tests are also minimally invasive and provide accurate readings of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels within minutes. Hair and blood tests are rarer because they are more expensive and require more invasive collection procedures.

These tests are capable of detecting various substances. However, the substances traced depend on which panels are used during analysis. Typically, employers test for these substances: ethanol, cocainemarijuana, opioids, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). These are addictive substances that have varying effects. All of them may cause significant impairment to an individual.

What Happens After an Employee Tested Positive

Several steps may occur after an employee receives a positive test result. If the employee insists on their innocence, they may request confirmatory testing to ensure the accuracy of the results. Further analysis may refute or solidify the previous results and prevent undue consequences from false positives.

If the positive result is finalised, the employee may face disciplinary action. Many employers issue warnings for the first violation. However, they may also conduct suspension or termination depending on the severity of the violation. Furthermore, employers may provide support for those suffering from substance use disorder. This may improve morale and promote a healthy work environment.

Conclusion

A sample workplace drug and alcohol policy may help employers in their commitment to employee and general workplace safety. To do this, it should list the objectives and goals of the policy. Furthermore, it should inform the workers of the possible reasons for testing. Some instances where employers may conduct screenings are during pre-employment, after accidents or near misses, under reasonable suspicion, and at random periods.

In addition, the policy should inform employees what tests will be used. Some testing options are breath, urine, saliva, blood, and hair tests. Employers may select the less invasive tests for the initial testing and use the blood or hair tests for confirmatory testing to prevent false positives. However, refusing testing or a positive test may result in sanctions. Another possible course of action is to provide assistance to employees suffering from disorders by providing resources for rehabilitation programs.

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