Illicit drug use and drug addictions are an unfortunate occurrence that we often see broadcasted on the evening news or even directly affecting the people we know. Businesses are not exempt from facing this epidemic as the use of drugs continues to make its way into the workplace. With companies trying to navigate through the challenges of finding qualified, drug-free employees, many have unfortunately opted not to drug test employees, and have neglected the importance of a drug-free workplace.
It’s more important now than ever before that employers have a well-established drug testing program to help reduce the potential for injuries and to prevent large losses to equipment and property from drug-related accidents. According to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, businesses in the U.S. have lost billions of dollars each year because of employee-related alcohol and drug use on the job. Although there are challenges in maintaining a program, it is safer and more cost-effective, in the end, to hire and retain employees.
The following are key components to consider as part of a Drug-Free Workplace Program.
A written policy that should clearly define the components of the program to include drug and alcohol testing procedures. The program should be reviewed by your legal counsel before implementing.
Supervisor training should be conducted to ensure the program is properly enforced.
Employee education on the program should be performed to include the dangers of drug and alcohol use in the workplace. All training should be documented and kept on file.
Employee assistance should be used to identify those struggling with alcohol or drug abuse and help resolve (through proper treatment) personal problems associated with it.
Drug/alcohol testing should be performed during pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, and should also include random drug testing within a workplace. These testing procedures should be clearly defined and communicated to all employees.
Establishing and maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace Program with these components will promote the continued safety of all employees. The following resources provide additional information to implement a Drug-Free Workplace program.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- United States Department of Labor: Drug-Free Workplace Advisor
National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance: “Industry Statistics.”
Central’s Bulletin on Drug-Free Workplace
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