The managers and supervisors in any workplace, particularly those belonging to the DOT industry, have to deal with numerous issues every day to maintain a productive and safe workplace. Most would agree that reasonable suspicion drug testing and screening is one of the most challenging responsibilities they face.
Maintaining a drug-free workplace is crucial to ensure the overall health and safety of employees, customers, and other personnel involved in an organization. It is of the utmost importance to implement a compliant drug-free workplace program.
One of the most important ways managers and supervisors can fulfill their responsibility of maintaining a safer workspace is through training on reasonable suspicion screening and testing.
The Importance of Conducting Reasonable Suspicion Training
Also referred to as probable cause testing, reasonable suspicion screening can be performed when a manager suspects an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the employee demonstrates behaviors that indicate alcohol or drug abuse, the supervisors can intervene.
Business owners who want to maintain a drug-free workplace and the supervisors or managers of the employees who can be tested for drugs on reasonable suspicion must be educated about their role.
They must be aware of the importance of intervening in situations where they suspect an employee is under the influence while on duty. Unfortunately, many organizations and supervisors opt to deal with the situation when and as it happens without proper knowledge, and as a result, the situation gets worse. Ineffectively dealing with such a situation may increase the chances of a lawsuit against the company.
When it comes to organizations, who have at-risk positions such as driving any form of vehicle, construction, or carrying firearms, just to name a few, being under the influence can result in fatalities, causing graver consequences.
Conducting reasonable suspicion training empowers managers to make the right call, document, and decide to test any employee they suspect under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The training session can help them distinguish between the signs of medical emergencies and signs of alcohol and/or drug use. Often, these signs are similar. For instance, sweating, breathlessness, nausea may indicate a cardiac arrest or might be a side effect of drug use.
These training sessions can equip supervisors with the knowledge they need before they go ahead with the testing process. It is important for them to understand that even if they strongly suspect an employee of drug abuse, they still need to rule out medical emergencies before proceeding forward.
Benefits of Reasonable Suspicion Training
There are multiple benefits of conducting reasonable suspicion training and keeping a drug free workplace environment, including:
- It reduces the chances of delays and mistakes in all workplaces.
- It enhances the safety and security of all employees in the workplace.
- It helps protect the surrounding population from potential harm due to drug abuse or use.
- It decreases the rate of absenteeism and ensures that all employees attend their scheduled shifts regularly, in turn, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the workplace.
- It also reduces the chance of vandalism, theft, misdemeanor, and other unacceptable behavior in the workplace and outside it.
- It also increases the safety of the public.
Reasonable suspicion may be a complex area to cover, but with properly designed training programs, supervisors can be equipped with the right strategies, knowledge, and resources to manage their staff and increase the safety and productivity of their workplaces.
Things to Include in a Reasonable Suspicion Training Program
At the very least, a reasonable suspicion training program should include the following:
- The expected role and responsibilities of all supervisors to maintain a drug-free workplace. They must understand the things that are and aren’t expected from them.
- Necessary information regarding all the federal requirements in case your organization receives funds or is regulated by the federal government.
- The impact of drug abuse on the safety of not just the workplace, but also on society.
- The dangers of drug and alcohol usage on the job.
- An overview of the process of alcohol and drug testing.
- Different ways they can identify symptoms and signs of alcohol or drug abuse in employees.
- An overview of the differences between crisis interventions (under the influence) and performance-based (long-term usage) interventions.
- Ways supervisors should interview and intervene in crisis situations.
- How they can prevent enabling behavior.
- Ways supervisors can efficiently document their observations regarding employees.
- How to transport the employee from and to the collection site for testing.
- When to call 911.
How Many Times Should the Training be conducted?
Unless the company is under the regulation of FAA (requiring refresher training for all supervisors every 12 to 18 months), all the supervisors or managers are recommended to take an onetime reasonable suspicion training of alcohol and drug use. It is also best practice to retrain managers every year to maintain an efficient and productive workplace.
It is essential to conduct formal training to emphasize the importance of the drug testing program and maintaining a drug-free workplace. Moreover, all the employees must be aware of the prohibited behaviors and the consequences of using alcohol or drugs.
For DOT organizations, all the supervisors must complete their initial 2 hour training identify suspicious behavior among employees and what immediate actions they need to take to resolve the issue. This is crucial for maintaining compliance and the safety of the surrounding population. To make sure that your company complies with all the DOT regulations and Non DOT drug testing,.