6 Best Practices for DER Drug and Alcohol Policy Management
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
Having a clear/precise policy and buy-in from the top-down is CRUCIAL
As with any workplace policy, the drug and alcohol policy needs buy-in at the highest level down. If the commitment of senior management is not obtained at an early stage, the policy will not be accepted by anyone. For example, a manager who is not in agreement with the policy, or testing, can be obstructive. These managers may refuse to release employees for education or find excuses for them not to be available for testing. In the end, the policy should be fair and reasonable, clearly stated, and fully explained and understood.
The policy also needs to be clear on what the consequences are if an employee refuses to test, is caught cheating a test, or if the results come back positive. Knowing these consequences can help deter the inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
Make sure all management over staff have Reasonable Suspicion Training as they are the eye and ears to help keep the workplace safe
Education for employees on the effects of drug and alcohol is important. But it is even more important to train any managers that have staff on reasonable suspicion training. These managers see the day-to-day interactions and can catch warning signs of workplace drug or alcohol abuse. Not only can this help keep the workplace safe, but these managers can be the starting point and encouragers of helping employees with long-term problems.
Make sure the drug testing policy is being monitored successfully
Employers who conduct drug and alcohol testing should consider updating their drug and alcohol policies, particularly if they have not done so in several years. Here are the top updates to consider from a previous article:
- Medical Marijuana Is Here To Stay
- Require “Safety-Sensitive” Employees to Report the Use of Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medications That Could Impact Safety
- Consider Whether Your Drug Test Panel Is Effective
- Do You Have a Comprehensive Definition of “Refusal to Test”?
- Is Your Post-Accident Testing Provision Effective?
The DER should also make sure the policy is being applied in a reasonable and consistent manner. Compliance with a policy can be recorded in various ways. Training records should be maintained of drug and alcohol education. Absence, accident, and work performance records should be reviewed regularly. Testing results information is also a valuable monitoring tool as it can provide statistics over time. Looking at the negative results are the marker of a successful policy.
Stay up-to-date on the latest local, state, and federal laws and regulations that affects your drug testing program
DERs must ensure that all provisions of their company’s drug and alcohol testing policies comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws. Failure to do so may lead to monetary damages and statutory penalties. With marijuana legalization increasing rapidly, and the rise of opioid addiction, state and local laws are changing. Be sure to talk with your company’s legal representative if needed.
Create a positive culture around drug testing – for safety, not punishment
When it comes to creating a positive culture around drug testing, communication is essential to building confidence in the culture around drug testing. If employees understand the purpose of the policy and can see that it has clear and unthreatening objectives, on the whole they will feel more comfortable with what they may otherwise see as an invasion of privacy or punishment.
Most workplace drug and alcohol policies have three main objectives.
- To deter the inappropriate use of alcohol and drugs
- To provide positive intervention for problem users
- And to comply with local, state, and federal regulations and requirement
All of these objectives are based around two reasons why a drug policy is in place: safety risk and company risk. Although safety risks get the most attention, and deservedly so, business risks are important to keep in mind. For example, employees who are abusing drugs or alcohol in the workplace could damage the company’s reputation or poor performance could decrease employee morale. The impact will vary from business to business, but potential damage can happen to: people, property, productivity, public image, and profitability.
Choose a good Drug Testing service provider
If your policy includes testing, then remember that your service provider should be a good source of information on the practicalities of implementing a drug testing program. If involved early in the policy creation process, the service provider can give valuable help. CleanFleet is an example of a good drug testing service provider. Call us anytime if you have questions at 503-479-6082.