Medvet can help you get your drug and alcohol policy right the first time.
Policy development is the very first step in implementing a program and this document is crucial to a successful drug and alcohol testing program.
Policy development needs to consider all the key stakeholders including senior management, the safety officer, unions if present, and employees. Consult early and consult often to ensure all concerns and ideas are raised.
Obtain the right advice from an experienced provider, like Medvet, so you can tailor your policy to your workplace requirements
So how do you write a drug and alcohol testing policy?
The easiest option is for us to do it for you. We have extensive experience in writing polices for a range of industries and in consultation with you; we can tailor the policy to your specific business requirements.
A Medvet drug and alcohol policy consultation typically encompasses:
- The scientific basis and limitations of various drug testing options
- The most appropriate method, matrix and level of a drug and alcohol testing regime to suit your workplace
- Who should be included in your drug and alcohol policy
- The role of training and education in implementing a drug and alcohol program
- Issues associated with union negotiations
- Best practice in implementation and employee consultation for any proposed policy and program
- Best practice in disciplinary issues specific to drug and alcohol testing issues
- The role of rehabilitation and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
- Confidentiality issues and legal defensibility of any testing regime
If you would prefer to write your own drug and alcohol policy, the minimum required information you should include:
- What type of testing will you be doing? For example, pre-employment, blanket, random, post-incident/accident, reasonable suspicion or return to work testing.
- What method of testing will you be using? Oral fluid or urine?
- Will you be testing for breath alcohol? If so what concentration is considered acceptable at your workplace?
- How will you manage an employee who tests positive?
Type of Testing
In line with Fairwork Australia, national privacy principles and occupational health and safety legislation, if you have the types of testing listed in your policy, you are reasonably able to request staff to participate in a drug and/or alcohol test.
Method of Testing
Which is the right method of testing for you? Oral fluid or urine? Both methods have advantages and limitations.
- The right method of testing for your company is going to be dependent on
- The industry you are in e.g. legislation requirements may be present.
- The presence and influence of unions.
- What the goals of the organisation are.
- Why are you implementing a drug and alcohol testing program?
- Geography, availability of facilities etc.
What about alcohol breathalyser testing?
What is the right limit for your organisation? 0.0%, 0.2% or 0.5%?
The limit will depend on the requirements of your organisation, taking into consideration any relevant legislation.
What happens to an employee who tests positive?
This is one of the most important parts of your policy. If an employee tests non-negative for drugs on-site, remember this is a screening test and laboratory confirmation is required to confirm whether the employee tests positive for illicit or misuse of prescription drugs.
It is imperative that privacy and confidentiality of the employee be maintained at all times.
Points to consider:
- Whether the employee needs to be removed from the immediate environment and moved to a less risky area;
- Stood down (with or without pay), or
- Continue in their current role until the result is returned from the laboratory.
Rehabilitation and counselling to return an employee to work is the usual process for someone who has tested positive to drugs and alcohol, particularly for a first offence.
However, every company is different and it is the company’s responsibility to determine what the procedure is before a program is introduced. The employee’s doctor and or access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can prove invaluable.
EAP providers can be local or national, and include access to a Medical Review Officer (MRO). You can also contact us for a referral to a MRO or EAP provider.