When employers make the decision to hire employees they assume that the employee will be responsible and arrive to work in an acceptable mental condition and stay in that acceptable mental condition prepared to engage in work during the stated work hours. However, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, some employees choose to engage in the use of drugs and alcohol before attending work or while working thus impeding the employee’s ability to fulfill his or her job duties. The Drug-Free Workplace Act which was enacted in 1988 requires federal grantees and contractors to maintain a drug free work environment. This act was put into place to urge employers to come together to support drug-free work environments. Employees who engage in the use of drugs before or during work hours put everyone’s safety at risk as their ability to complete the work in the appropriate manner diminishes.
Considerations When Creating a Plan
There are always certain items to take into consideration when creating a plan and the creation of a drug-free work plan is not any different. Here are some items to consider when drafting your plan.
· The Implementation of Drug and Alcohol Testing: Drug and alcohol testing has become pretty common in today’s hiring process. Many businesses have chosen to make drug testing an essential component within the preliminary employment process. This allows employers to verify that potential employees are drug-free before offering them employment. Random drug testing is also another tactic used to ensure that that the current employees are not using drugs. Random drug tests may be performed at any time and without warning.
· Training and Education: Supervisor training regarding drug use can be very beneficial in the workplace. The supervisors are the people out working alongside the employees each day and are most likely going to notice a difference in any employee who may be using drugs. Furthermore, basic employee education regarding drug-use and the workplace may be helpful. Employees need to be aware of the risks and hazards of using drugs while on the job.
· Creation of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP): An employee assistance program is an employer-provided program which provides assistance to employees facing personal problems that adversely affect their job performance. Programs such as this provide assistance related to substance abuse, healthcare concerns, emotional distress as well as other employee support issues. These services are often short-term and may result in a referral for the employee to seek further help through outside counseling providers.
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Ensuring a Drug-Free Work Environment
Once a plan has been created and put into action, employees must be made aware of the plan and its components. For instance, the grantees must publish a statement in writing which states that the manufacture, distribution, possession or use of a controlled substance in the grantee’s workplace is strictly prohibited. There should also be a statement regarding the repercussions should an employee choose to violate the drug-free workplace plan.
All in all, the implementation of a drug-free work plan is beneficial for everyone. Everyone will enjoy a safer work environment when all employees are in an alert and aware state of mind.