While most Australian businesses have a good understanding of their need to manage safety in their workplace, when it comes to drug and alcohol management, some simply don’t know where to start.
They stick their heads in the sand and hope. Hope that no one comes to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Hope that if they do, they don’t have an accident, don’t damage machinery and above all, don’t injure themselves or others.
It’s time to stop hoping and start doing something, with help from Integrity Sampling.
Integrity Sampling are the experts in providing advice for workplaces on all aspects of drug and alcohol management, including the development of robust drug and alcohol policies and procedures.
It's only a matter of time
If you’re not managing drugs and alcohol in your workplace, or your policies and procedures are weak or out of date, it’s only a matter of time before drugs and alcohol affects you.
Percentage of workplace injuries caused by drugs and alcohol worldwide
Cost in billions per year to Australian businesses due to the impact of drugs and alcohol
Million days lost each year due to alcohol-related absenteeism
Cost in millions per year to Australian businesses from drug-related workplace accidents
The first step in drug and alcohol management
The first step in drug and alcohol management for any workplace is to develop robust, detailed and clear drug and alcohol policies and procedures.
Your drug and alcohol policy should clearly detail the expectations for management and employees, and provide particulars of all aspects of the way you will manage drugs and alcohol. While the list below is certainly not exhaustive, this will include:
- Your responsibilities as an employer.
- The responsibilities of management and employees.
- Education that you deliver to ensure everyone understands your policy and to widen the knowledge of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
- Support you will provide people with drug or alcohol issues.
- Work sponsored functions and the provision of alcohol.
- Details of the drug and alcohol testing you will implement.
- The steps you’ll take if an employee is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Counselling and discipline following a positive drug or alcohol test.
- Consequences for people refusing to take a test.
The need for nearly every Australian business to have a drug and alcohol policy can’t be underestimated. Without one, you’re putting your business at legal, moral and financial risk, particularly if one of your employees has an accident where alcohol or drugs were involved.
Integrity Sampling can help you develop your workplace drug and alcohol policy. We can also help with all aspects of procedure development and, in addition, assist with education of employees and conduct drug and alcohol testing in your workplace.
Why do I need to manage drugs and alcohol in my workplace?
If the potential for impacts in areas such as safety, absenteeism, productivity, morale and workplace culture aren’t enough to urge you to take drugs and alcohol seriously, here’s another reason. In most states and territories, a lack of management around drugs and alcohol could see you end up in jail.
While in general there are no specific laws around workplace drug and alcohol management, workplaces do have legal obligations under occupational health and safety (OHS) laws. These laws aim to improve the health and safety of employees and others in the workplace and they carry significant responsibilities for employers and managers.
Even more pertinent are industrial manslaughter laws in many states and territories. These laws apply harsh consequences for companies and individuals (owners, managers and directors) if their reckless or grossly negligent conduct results in the death of another person.
When we say harsh, we mean it. For an individual it can mean up to 20 years in jail. For companies, multi-million dollar fines.
So, if your workplace is safety focused (e.g. you work in mining, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, aviation or another industry where there are safety risks) it’s important to have a comprehensive plan to manage drugs and alcohol. Of course, it’s just as vital that you follow through with your plan.
Can my workplace implement drug testing?
A common question companies ask Integrity Sampling is whether they can legally implement drug and alcohol testing, as part of their drug and alcohol management plan.
The simple answer is yes. Any workplace can legally and justifiably conduct workplace drug testing as long as testing is appropriate. What do we mean by appropriate? Specifically, that your workplace has safety risks and by not managing drugs and alcohol you could be putting the safety of people at risk.
In fact, in workplaces where safety is critical and where risks are present, drug and alcohol testing can be imperative. Not taking steps to reduce the incidence of employees coming to work impaired by drugs or alcohol can certainly pose a significant risk to you and your business.
Don’t put your drug and alcohol policy and procedures on the shelf
Your drug and alcohol policy and procedures are documents that shouldn’t be put on the shelf and allowed to gather dust:
- Educate your employees and others within your workplace regularly about your policy and procedures, so they understand their obligations.
- Review your policy and procedures regularly to make sure they are up to date.
- Make sure you are following every aspect of your policy and procedures.
Make a start today
Some workplaces put their heads in the sand when it comes to drug and alcohol management simply because they don’t know where to start. They don’t know how to develop a policy or procedures, don’t know what to include, don’t know who to involve and don’t know how to start implementing drug and alcohol testing.
It can be daunting, but help is at hand.
Integrity Sampling can help you with all aspects of drug and alcohol management, including:
- Policy and procedure development
- Educating your workforce
- Drug testing
- Alcohol testing
Contact us today and protect you and your business from the scourge of drugs and alcohol.