As many of us are getting back to work after a festive season break, it can be tempting to spend your time clearing emails and catching up on day to day work. If you really want to usher in the new year in a safe way, however, here’s a tip. This is a great time to improve your workplace drug and alcohol management.
At Integrity Sampling, we recognise the critical role robust drug and alcohol management plays in safeguarding employee well-being and fostering a secure working environment. And when it comes to improving drug and alcohol management, revisiting and updating your drug and alcohol policy is the best first step.
How do you update your workplace drug and alcohol policy?
When you’re looking at updating your drug and alcohol policy – or you’re developing your first policy – it’s a good idea to consider your aims. These are likely to be about compliance, taking a proactive safety approach and ultimately cultivating a workplace that prioritises health and safety.
- When it comes to compliance, for the most part there are no specific laws around workplace drug and alcohol management. However, all workplaces have legal obligations under occupational health and safety laws and you should familiarise yourself with these laws and ensure your policy is aligned.
- It’s always wise to remember that in Australia drug and alcohol management is predominantly about safety. While drugs and alcohol in a workplace can impact a range of areas, including absenteeism, productivity, morale and workplace culture, it’s the safety aspect that is most important.
- Consider, also, that most states and territories in Australia now have industrial manslaughter laws, with significant penalties in place. For owners, managers and directors whose reckless or grossly negligent conduct results in the death of one of their workers, it could mean up to 20 years in jail for an individual and a multimillion dollar fine for a company. If nothing else makes your take workplace drug and alcohol management seriously, this should!
What should your workplace drug and alcohol policy include?
When it comes to what to include in your workplace drug and alcohol policy, a key word is everything!
Your policy and your workplace drug and alcohol management as a whole needs to be detailed and robust. It should also be clear and easy for anyone to understand. Your policy is likely to include:
- Clearly defined objectives: Outline your workplace drug and alcohol policy's purpose and objectives, emphasising the creation of a secure work environment, the promotion of employee wellbeing and compliance to relevant laws.
- Explicitly identified prohibited substances: Clearly articulate the substances that are restricted or forbidden. This doesn’t just include illegal drugs and alcohol. It should also cover prescription medications.
- Consequences: Provide details on the repercussions for policy violations. What happens if someone is caught under the influence of drugs or alcohol? What happens if an employee refuses to be tested?
- Support: Provide comprehensive information on available support resources. This may include details about employee assistance programs and rehabilitation services, whether internal or external. Foster a culture of open communication, encouraging employees to seek help when necessary.
- Education, communication and training: Your drug and alcohol policy is too important to just sit on the shelf gathering dust. Ensure it’s communicated comprehensively to all employees through training initiatives, awareness campaigns and regular reminders. Use the opportunity to provide general awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
- Workplace drug and alcohol testing: Clearly define all details about any drug and alcohol testing you will implement. This will include what type of testing method will you use (e.g. saliva samples or urine) and when you will test (pre-employment, after incidents, under suspicion or random).
For more information, see Integrity Sampling’s workplace drug and alcohol management page.
Get support to improve your workplace drug and alcohol management
Managing drugs and alcohol in your workplace yourself can be difficult, but Integrity Sampling makes it easy.
Integrity Sampling is well-equipped to help you develop your workplace drug and alcohol policy or update it. Our expertise extends beyond policy development. It encompasses all aspects of drug and alcohol management including employee education and, of course, workplace drug and alcohol testing.
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The new year is the perfect time to review and update your workplace drug and alcohol management. Credit National Cancer Institute https://unsplash.com/photos/yellow-driving-forklift-S-3AnKlICmY