Promote a Drug-Free Workplace
Workplace Drug Testing
For employers, the benefits of promoting a drug-free workplace are manifold. Employees who take drugs at work can compromise the safety of themselves and others, negatively affect workplace efficiency and cause problems with staff management. However, knowing exactly how to promote a drug-free workplace can be hard. Employers run the risk of being seen as unfair if they aren’t clear on what they are doing and the rules of the workplace.
Being clear about the rules of drug and alcohol use at your workplace is important in promoting trust and open dialogue. Make sure your drug and alcohol policy is written down and easily accessible to employees. This policy should be discussed with employees when they are hired. Be clear about the fact that this is not about their private lives unless their decisions will endanger the safety of the workplace.
Educate employees about the dangers that drug use at work could pose. Clear and concise fact sheets on cars or machinery used at work promote employee understanding of the reasons why drug use is not tolerated.
If you believe drug use is impacting employee safety, then you are within your rights to ask for drug tests to be conducted. The legal benchmark depends on your workplace so consult with lawyers prior to any action. Having breathalyzers available for use by those needed to operate machinery is a good way to avoid alcohol use causing an accident. If you have reasonable grounds to believe an employee is using drugs at work, then drug screening may help you decide on your next step.
Acting fairly promotes trust in the workplace. Make sure that the drug tests you use are appropriate for the situation – in some cases Australian case law mandates that an oral swab may be more appropriate than a urine sample. You should also accommodate employees who tell you they are using legal drugs by providing an experienced and licensed data collector to check for their results. Remember that the legal precedent is that random drug testing is an intrusion unless you are concerned about health and safety issues at work.