At the core of any effective drug-testing programs there is usually a drug-free policy. Remember that there is no drug-free policy that can fit all companies. Just as all businesses are different, all drug-free policies also tend to be different. This is because many things depend on your experience with employees’ substance abuse and the safety-sensitive nature of your business as well as the overall objectives of your company. While no two drug-free policies can be the same, there are some things that every drug-free policy needs to cover. This page explains a drug-free policy for your business.
The benefits of a drug-free workplace
Drug testing in the workplace regardless of whether it’s part of the pre-employment process or done randomly for employees has become a top priority for most employers. Many employers understand the importance of having a drug free workplace. In most cases, this can offer employee safety, reduce costs, and improves productivity.
Keep in mind that there are several benefits you can have from implementing a drug-free workplace policy. Besides safety and improved productivity, a drug-free workplace can enhance the happiness of your employees.
Employees can feel confident when they know that they are working in a drug-free environment. There are good chances that you can lower excessive absenteeism, accidents, theft, and violence. And, you can have productive staff members and can avoid having to handle legal problems, especially when an employee gets injured on the job due to their alcohol or drug use.
Unfortunately, drug abuse whether it is cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, or methamphetamines, has been on the rise. With the increase in the population, the number of people abusing illegal substances has also increased.
Some of the common components of a drug-free policy include reasonable suspicion drug testing and pre-employment drug testing. Besides, some industries, especially businesses that the Department of Transportation regulates need to do additional testing programs. This includes random drug testing, follow-up drug testing, return-to-duty drug testing, and post-accident drug testing.
You should also note that drug testing laws tend to vary by industry and state. Companies that need DOT compliance can have some laws that supersede state or city-level laws. Therefore, before you develop a drug testing program, you need to understand the laws that apply to your state. It makes sense to find a consultant with experience in the drug testing industry so that you can implement a successful drug-free workplace program.
Creating your drug-free policy
It’s important to have a drug-free workplace policy and it requires enough time to create it. As explained earlier, each state’s drug testing requirements and laws are different and require knowledge and experience about federal, state, and city laws to make sure that you create a compliant and complete drug-free policy.
Before you decide to implement a drug-free workplace program, you need to involve your employees, especially your supervisors. The supervisors are usually the people who work closely with staff members and can be responsible for determining reasonable suspicion of alcohol or drug use by the workers.
A drug-free workplace policy is also suitable for any business regardless of how small or big it is. The policy can include everything you want to implement in a drug-free program. The drug-free policy can also include a comprehensive manual that outlines what is involved in your drug-free workplace program.
It’s crucial to educate your employees about your drug-free program. Every employee in your company needs to understand how the drug-free policy can be implemented and know what substance abuse entails. Also, they need to understand how drug abuse can affect the work environment and the liabilities your company is likely to face when your employee uses drugs, especially while working.
You can figure out the type of drug testing you have to do by understanding the reasons for doing the drug testing. The major concern for many companies is the safety of their employees, customers, and other people. This is especially true if the employee works in a safety-sensitive area.
Other common reasons why you can do a drug test are to control the business costs like healthcare insurance, accident insurance premiums, workers’ compensation, and to improve the health and well-being of your employees. Drug testing can also reduce employee theft as well as other costly and wasteful behavior. Compliance with state or federal government regulations also needs to be stated when applicable.
You should note that you need to put in place the consequences for any drug test policy violation. Simply put, any violation of the drug-free policy for your company should lead to disciplinary action, which can include termination of employment. The purpose of doing this is to make it quite clear that an employee can be held accountable for substance abuse-related behavior.
The drug-free policy also needs to describe the employees who qualify for drug testing and who will be responsible for asking them to go through a drug test. It should also state how and under what situations drug testing can happen. Reasonable suspicion and pre-employment drug testing are the common types of testing and they are followed by random and post-accident testing.
If your company has a point-of-care testing device, then your drug-free policy needs to explain this. Besides, the specimen that is used for drug testing needs to be explained, such as oral fluid, hair, urine, and many more. The drug-free policy also needs to list the lab that you use for confirmations as well as the medical review officer responsible for verifying positive results. The consequences of a positive alcohol or drug test can also be explained.
A drug-free policy can help to keep your employees safe. It can also assist to deter employees from any future drug abuse. There is also the chance that other employees can become more productive and loyal when they realize that there is a drug-free policy in place. For those who may be struggling with substance abuse issues, a good drug-free program can provide assistance and support at work. As you can see, there are many good things when it comes to implementing a drug-free policy at your workplace.