Substance-Free Workplace Programme
WHAT IS A SUBSTANCE-FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAMME?
A substance-free workplace programme is a policy that businesses can establish to prevent substance misuse among its employees.
The components of a substance-free workplace can vary, but successful programmes often have these five elements:
- Written policy
- Employee education initiative
- Supervisor/management training
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
- Drug tests
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ZERO-TOLERANCE SUBSTANCE MISUSE?
The most obvious benefit is reduced substance misuse among employees. Employers with long-standing substance-free policies report the reduced use of medical benefits by employees and their families, and better health among employees. Not only can you save a percentage on workers’ comp, but the premium is very likely to decrease with a substance-free policy.
- Reduced substance misuse
- Reduced use of medical benefits
- Better employee health
IS SUBSTANCE MISUSE REALLY A PROBLEM IN THE WORKPLACE?
Yes – and the statistics speak volumes. Several studies have found that, in the workplace, substance misusers are more likely to:
- Be less productive
- Be late or absent
- File a workers’ comp claim
- Change jobs frequently
- Reduce co-workers’ morale
- Be involved in an accident
Substance misusers involved in accidents also commonly injure others, especially in safety-sensitive industries like transportation and construction.
HOW CAN I SET UP A SUBSTANCE-FREE POLICY?
To implement a successful substance-free workplace programme, it is recommended that a company includes each of the five elements: a policy, education, training, an employee assistance programme and drug tests. Creating awareness of the programme through employee handbooks, newsletters, induction and orientation, health education and bulletins, among other means, can be integral to a programme’s success.
HOW CAN OHS CARE HELP SET UP A SUBSTANCE-FREE WORKPLACE?
OHS Care can work with your company to perform a needs assessment and set up a substance-free policy. We also handle all the drug testing needs that your programme will require through a mobile drug testing unit.
OHS Care is capable of administering certified urine drug tests that detect anywhere from 4-6 commonly-abused substances.
All results are then available to view online through our client portal. Furthermore, after a positive result another sample will be collected to be analysed by an accredited laboratory which verifies the validity of positive results before reporting an accurate final result.
We can also provide materials for educating employees and training supervisors on the
nature and scope of your substance-free workplace programme.
A SUBSTANCE-FREE POLICY MAY INCLUDE THESE TESTING METHODS
There are six main occasions upon which an employer might give a drug test. These are:
- Pre-employment: This reduces the chances of hiring a substance misuser and enforces the drug-free policy
- Annual: This type of test is a good yearly reminder of your strict substance-free policy
- At random: Random drug tests send the message that substance misuse is not only discouraged, but never permitted
- Reasonable suspicion: If an employee has a history of unsafe behaviour or does not appear fit for duty, this type of test can be an effective tool for identifying the issue
- Post-accident: This is a test given in response to an accident or incident involving unsafe behaviour
- Return-to-duty: This is a test given after an employee has completed a treatment programme for substance misuse
WHAT ACTIONS MAY BE TAKEN IN THE EVENT OF A FAILED DRUG TEST?
Depending on the work environment and individual circumstances, actions to take may include:
- Referral to an Employee Assistance Programme for assistance concerning substance misuse
- Referral to more extensive treatment options
- Disciplinary action: Suspension, dismissal or firing. These are more extreme consequences