You’ve developed a drugs and alcohol policy for your business and are conducting regular workplace drug testing, so you now relax knowing you’ve done all you can to protect your business against the misuse of drugs and alcohol… Or have you?
Providing information, education and training to employers in regards to drugs and alcohol is a must for any business. According to Worksafe Victoria, in their Guide for developing a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy, “providing information on drug and alcohol use can help to ensure that all employees are aware of the issues associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs and how this may impact on health and safety in the workplace.”
So, what should you include in this information and how should you provide the education?
- Most importantly, make sure your employees know about your drug and alcohol policy. Let them know the key details, including information on the workplace drug testing you’ll carry out and the consequences for those that provide a positive workplace drug testing result.
- Provide general information on drugs and alcohol, and the effects they can have on health, safety and work performance. Include information on the time it takes for drugs and alcohol to leave the system, so that employees can make informed decisions.
- Let employees know what they should do if they think a fellow employee may be under the effects of drugs or alcohol at work.
- You should provide this type of information regularly. Perhaps annually or twice a year, organise employee briefings or team meetings. And back this up with posters on notice boards, emails and other communication. Don’t forget to include information in induction materials so new employees are also made aware.
- Let employees know of support mechanisms that exist for an employee who needs assistance with drugs or alcohol and encourage them to be proactive and use this support if needed.
- Provide a rundown on employer and employee responsibilities when it comes to drugs and alcohol, under the OHS Act and potentially any employee or industry agreements.
- Don’t just focus on the shop floor when it comes to education and information. Ensure managers, supervisors and OHS representatives also receive training. Their training may include specific information about how to identify employees who may be affected by drugs and alcohol, managing risks and cause testing (workplace drug testing carried out when an employee’s fitness for work is questioned).
Source: Worksafe Victoria