There are a ton of different ways your company’s drug and alcohol program could go wrong: you could be enforcing regulations that aren’t appropriate for your industry, choosing the wrong test, carrying on with an outdated program, or ignoring—or selectively enforcing—your company’s policy. Maybe you don’t have a policy at all.
In order to have a program that works for you rather than against you, your company needs a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy with clearly defined rules that keeps you in compliance both within your industry and on the state and federal levels. Here are 5 steps that’ll put you on the path to drug and alcohol screening success:
#1 Draft Your Drug and Alcohol Policy
Because your drug and alcohol testing policies keep you compliant with state and federal laws and they help protect your company from liability by incorporating safe and ethical procedures right into daily operations, they’re some of the most critical documentation your company has.
In order to be truly effective, your drug and alcohol policy needs to be fair and reasonable, clearly stated, fully explained and understood across the company, and compliant with local, state, and federal law in ALL areas where your company has employees. So your policy should go into great detail and cover things like:
- The purpose and goal of your policy
- Who is covered under your policy
- When your policy will apply
- Prohibited behavior
- Whether or not employees need to notify you of drug-related convictions
- Locker, vehicle, or personal searches
- Employment drug testing
- The consequences of a policy violation
- Whether or not there will be Return-to-Work Agreements
- What type of help will be available
- How employee confidentiality will be protected
- Who will be responsible for enforcing your policy
- How your policy will be communicated to employees
#2 Train Your Supervisors
Supervisors work closely with your workforce every single day, so training them to recognize substance abuse in the workplace is an essential part of a successful drug and alcohol program.
This “Reasonable Suspicion” or “Signs and Symptoms” training needs to include a review of your drug and alcohol policy, outline the supervisor’s role in implementing and enforcing the policy, and detail the physical and mental signs of drug and/or alcohol use—including speech, behavior, and performance indicators—as well as how to deal with employees who are suspected of working while under the influence.
#3 Train Your Employees
Of course everyone on your leadership team needs to be an expert on your drug and alcohol policy, but your employees need to understand the parameters of the policy as well—especially if you’re implementing a new program or have made any changes to an existing program.
Often times, educating employees can be a powerful deterrent in itself. Start touting your drug-free culture before prospective employees even apply by mentioning drug testing in your job openings. Then, reinforce your message by including drug and alcohol training in your employee onboarding process and share factual information on the impact that drug and alcohol abuse has in the workplace. Finally, serve up daily reminders with “drug-free workplace” posters that are prominently displayed throughout your building(s).
#4 Provide Workplace Assistance
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are designed to help employees with personal problems that may affect their job performance, including drug addiction. When selecting an EAP, choose one that gives employees access to a professional counselor who can provide expert advice on how to deal with addiction so employees can get the help they need in order to live up to their full potential.
#5 Follow Through with Drug Testing
Oftentimes, random drug testing alone is a powerful deterrent to employee drug use, mainly because your employees know that they may be asked to take a test on any given day. However, if you don’t drug test often enough, your employees will start to believe that you never actually will. For this reason—and others—random drug tests should be conducted within reasonably spaced periods throughout the year. Be sure to change the exact dates you drug test every year so that your drug tests are truly random, pick the right test, and eliminate the opportunity to cheat.
ARCpoint’s experts can review your current drug testing policies and update them if needed, help you implement and manage a random drug testing program, conduct drug screenings, and even train your supervisors to recognize the specific, observable behaviors of an impaired employee. Give us a call at 864.271.3210, or contact us online to start creating a safer work environment today.