With drugs and alcohol costing Australian workplaces $5.2 billion a year, responsible for causing workplace injuries and deaths, and resulting in productivity losses, absenteeism and other issues, workplace managers and owners could be forgiven for being fearful of drugs and alcohol. However, it’s important to recognise that workplaces are in a very unique position of being able to do something about it.
As Safe Work Australia highlights on its website, on a page entitled Work-Related Alcohol and Drug Use: A Fit for Work Issue, “The workplace is ideally situated to change attitudes and behaviours with regards to alcohol and drug abuse.”
In other words, you can’t control what your employees are exposed to and do outside of work, but at work, you can implement a drugs and alcohol policy and you can educate employees about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and thereby influence their attitude and behaviour.
Start with a drug and alcohol policy
The starting point is a robust drug and alcohol policy that is developed in conjunction with your workplace’s stakeholders, including employees. Your policy should include the responsibilities of employees and management, as well as every detail about how you will manage drugs and alcohol in your workplace. This is likely to include details about your drug and alcohol testing program.
Knowledge is power
Once your drug and alcohol policy is developed, it’s not time to put it on the shelf to gather dust. Educate your workforce about the important details of the policy so they know their expectations and the rules that apply to them.
Also, provide education to employees on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Remember, most people want to do the right thing, but some people may not be aware of the risks they take by drinking or taking drugs soon before going to work. Education allows your employees to make informed decisions about drugs and alcohol, helping to ensure they come to work in a safe and fit condition.
You can back up this employee education with brochures, posters, newsletter articles and other promotional tactics that help to get key messages to your employees.
Get help on drugs and alcohol
If you need help in any aspect of drug and alcohol management, Integrity Sampling can help. We can assist you to develop your workplace drug and alcohol policy, help educate your employees and conduct drug and alcohol testing at your workplace.
Give us a call today on 1300 SALIVA.
Educating your workforce on the dangers of drugs and alcohol is a smart thing to do. Credit Salford University (image modified) https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/10979266454/