What It Means To Have a Drug Free Workplace

Posted by Johanna Penafiel on Mar 31, 2020 11:54:04 AM

Employees Working on a Project

 

Business owners and companies strive to promote a safe working environment for all employees, where better health is encouraged. Therefore, most of the organizations consider the usage of alcohol and drugs on the job as a counterproductive and unsafe practice and aim to maintain a drug free workplace.

 

According to the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, a drug free workplace is one where “the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited.”

Substance abuse is considered a severe threat to other employees, customers, and the public, in general. Many employers have prohibited the sale, possession, and usage of illegal drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Importance of Establishing a Drug Free Workplace

It is integral for you to establish a strict drug free workplace program to avoid any impact on your business and to enhance workplace safety. When an individual is abusing drugs, it is almost impossible to keep the drug use away from the workplace, which means it is highly likely that their productivity will suffer. 

Maintaining a drug-free workplace is the most effective way of preventing any drug-related consequences, including a hostile work environment, reduced profits, accidents, lawsuits, and more. It provides all the employees with a safe and positive environment to work in, while also maintaining the safety of the public.

Here are some of the best practices on how to drug test employees and why it is important to maintain a drug free workplace:

Enhanced Productivity

Following  drug-free workplace programs is among the most valuable assets for any company because it increases the productivity levels of all employees. Employees suffering from drug abuse are not likely to be as productive as the employees not under the influence of drugs.

One of the clear signs and symptoms of drug abuse is sluggish mental and physical activity, which means such employees are more likely to take sick days, more breaks, come in late, and do sloppy work.

Reduced Turnover

When employees know that drug and alcohol usage is prohibited in the workplace, and could be subject to testing, they will not engage in these activities. As a result, your employees will know drug users are not in your workforce, they will stay with your company longer and enjoy working in a safe workplace. 

Increased Safety

Employees with a substance abuse problem are at a higher risk of sustaining or causing work-related injuries. This is particularly true for at-risk positions, such as employees who carry a firearm, perform life-threatening procedures, caretakers, construction workers, and those responsible for handling transportation. Working under the influence can result in grave consequences and ultimately cost the company thousands or millions in lawsuits and claims.

Improved Hiring Process

When an effective drug-free workplace program is implemented, this means that all the employees, including new hires, will be thoroughly screened for drug or alcohol abuse. As a result, your company can vet out any applicant with drug issues and save resources and time in hiring and training. Individuals with drug or alcohol abuse issues are more likely to avoid applying to organizations that have a strict drug-free workplace.

Basic Requirements of a Drug-Free Workplace Program

The major components of a successful drug-free workplace program include a well-written policy highlighting what is expected from the employees, reasons for testing, and what is prohibited. 

This helps promote a safe, drug-free workplace. The basic requirements for a drug-free workplace vary by state. but almost all include:

  • Drug Free Work Place Policy – to educate the employees about their responsibilities and rights in the workplace, drugs they are to be tested for such as pre-employment drug testing,  disciplinary actions, and what to expect from the process of a drug screen collection.
  • Drug Testing – Contracting collection sites, so you know where to direct your employees to go, Laboratories where the collection of the drug test can be screened, and Medical Review Officers who can report the results, and verify and prescription medication.
  • Employee Awareness and Education – to ensure all employees are aware of their responsibilities in a drug-free workplace. It includes the circulation of educational materials regarding substance abuse prevention, including where to go for help, drugs that prohibited, and education on employee rights.
  • Supervisor Training – to prepare them for reasonable suspicion testing and provide them with support, education, and resources to intervene.
  • Employee Assistance – to provide help to those employees experiencing issues that have been affecting their performance at work and enhance overall productivity. This may include personal, financial, substance abuse issues, and more.
  • Promoting a Drug-Free Culture in Organizational Materials – by including the statement that the company is a strict drug-free workplace. You can now include this in job ads to make sure the right candidates apply for the position. It also helps save the time and resources of the company.
  • Maintaining the Confidentiality of Test Results –it is essential to make sure that all of the test results, both positive and negative, are kept confidential. You must only inform the individuals with ‘need to know’ about the results.
  • Imposing all Policies and Consequences Fairly – there should be no exceptions and favoritism when it comes to maintaining a drug-free environment. The policies must be applied strictly and equally throughout the organization.

Maintaining a drug-free work environment work and establishing an effective policy and plan can enhance the overall work culture and employee productivity of any organization. It will help your company uphold employee morale, work ethic, and employee satisfaction while improving the safety of the workplace and the general public.

It is an effective means of reducing the possibility of potential risks, accidents, fatalities, and other damages. To make sure your drug and alcohol programs are up-to-date, create a new one, or to learn more about ways to begin testing and establish a drug-free workplace, get in touch with us.

 

Topics: requirements for drug testing, employee drug testing, Drug free workplace, drug testing

Johanna Penafiel, National Account Manager.

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