Managing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace
Factors that contribute
There are a number of factors that contribute to an individuals drug and alcohol use while at work.
- The Individual: an individual’s age and gender, together with their attitudes and beliefs regarding alcohol and drug use.
- Working Conditions: work stress and poor working conditions such as long or irregular work hours, low pay, job insecurity, low job satisfaction and poor industrial relations.
- Access: availability of alcohol and drugs. Low levels of supervision and the lack of formal workplace alcohol and drug policies.
- Culture: the customs, social networks and co-worker behavioural norms.
The importance of high-quality testing
While there is a wide variety of drug and alcohol testing products available, many of them are sub-standard, are used incorrectly, don’t provide anti-tampering checks, are not supported by Drug and Alcohol Policies and would not withstand legal challenge in Australian courts. To ensure an efficient and effective drug and alcohol testing program takes place, make sure you:
- Use a professional provider who holds NATA accreditation under AS/NZ 4308:2008 qualifications. Unlike certification, NATA accreditation focuses on overall compliance with systems and processes, rather than technical competence. It also provides you with the assurance that if required, the results will withstand legal challenge in Australian courts.
- If you use instant testing, make sure there are at least four non-adulteration tests to assist in identify result tampering.
- Have a clear and transparent Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy developed in consultation with the workforce that applies to all levels of employment.
- Employ a trained Screener as they will:
- Make the process easier for all parties as they’re confident in administering and analysing samples.
- Know what to look for in the instance of potential tampering.
- Have the ability to liaise closely with the relevant people regarding results.
- Work efficiently to minimise cost.
- Hold the necessary qualifications to ensure the collection process meets Australian Standards.
How to run an onsite drug and alcohol testing program
- Have a watertight policy to minimise chances of ambiguity and challenges to confirmed positive results (illicit or not matching medication/without script).
- Be fair in their selection of candidates.
- Be transparent with the provider as to their issues and needs
How to create a drug-free workplace
- Policy: the development of formal workplace drug and alcohol policy that clearly states and communicates what is acceptable behaviour and the consequences of unacceptable behaviour.
- Education and Training: raise awareness about your drug and alcohol policy as well as providing access to health and wellness programs.
- Support: make support easily accessible and encouraged by letting your employees know what is available to them such Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) or paid and private services.
- Evaluation: Drug and Alcohol Policy continuously check, revise and measure your drug and alcohol policy to determine if it’s achieving its stated aims and goals. Evaluation can include quantitative (statistics and data) and qualitative (feedback and surveys) measures.
- Health Promotions: health promotions are a great way to engage and communicate with your team in a fun and non-confrontational way. Health promotions may include drug education programs, mental health programs, periodic health checks, women’s and men’s health days’ and workplace challenges such as Get Fit Competitions.
Sonic HealthPlus is NATA accredited under AS/NZ 4308:2008 for specimen collection, detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine.