Your drug and alcohol policy sets the stage for a successful fit-for-duty program. Having a well-documented policy provides a framework for dealing with the difficult, and often times sensitive, issues surrounding substance abuse, medical conditions, and related stress and fatigue.
So what makes a good policy? CannAmm has over 20 years of experience partnering with companies from many industries across Canada. We have witnessed 7 keys that our partners with successful policies share. They include:
1. Purpose of the Policy
Though the obvious purpose would be to have people not come into work under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, there also needs to be more depth in the underlying end result desired. What goals will this policy help your company achieve? Do you want a safer workplace? How about a decrease in injuries? Increased productivity due to less downtime caused by accidents and near misses? A good policy should align with, and contribute to, the overall safety goals of the company.
2. Roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employees
Having a successful policy means that both supervisors and employees are aware of and understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of what is expected of them when at work. It should outline the job tasks, duties, as well as a chain of command. This helps those in knowing what is expected of them, the tasks they may be faced with, as well as the person(s) they should contact in times of need.
A run-down of the terms that are used within the policy will allow for clarity, and also deny anyone the excuse “Well I didn’t know what that meant”. Being clear and concise about the specific terms, even if they seem obvious, will give a company something to fall back on if a dispute occurs with an employee who claims they didn’t understand.
4. Description of the circumstances under which testing takes place
All employees should understand why, when, and how testing would take place. Listing the circumstances that would be deemed “testable” is important to outline, as it will give everyone an understanding of when it is appropriate for testing to occur.
5. Consequences for employees who refuse testing or testing positive
Creating a list of consequences that is accessible, visible, and easily understood by employees is important in ensuring that everyone is aware of what would happen to them if they chose to refuse a test. If by chance, an employee were to say they didn’t know of any such rules, the employer would just have to reference the policy where it is all stated.
6. Self-disclosure and accommodation
The policy should provide the requirement for an employee to disclose should they have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse. The employer would then have the responsibility to protect these employees and assist them in seeking rehabilitation. The policy should outline all the steps taken when this happens to ensure the rights and interests of both the employee and employer are protected.
7. How results will be stored and what will be done to ensure confidentiality
This is very sensitive information of a private nature. Great care is needed so that it is not shared inappropriately. Who has access to the results and in what circumstances? How does your Third Party Administrator (TPA) deliver the results to ensure that only the right people have access? How does your TPA ensure your employee’s private and confidential information is protected throughout the chain of custody? Outlining the answers to these questions within the policy will help improve employee confidence in the policy.
A good policy is a foundation for a successful program that helps companies meet their safety goals, so let us help you in creating the best.