Alcohol and drug test at work – The Safety Zone

Alcohol and drug test at work, Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the company has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe, quality-oriented and productive work environment. Alcohol and drug abuse pose a threat to the health and safety of company employees and to the safety of company equipment and facilities. For these reasons, the company is committed to eliminating drug and alcohol use and abuse in the workplace.

The use of alcohol or drugs can affect safety, and job performance, as well as harm the health of the employee; that is why it will be treated as missing serious misconduct, as well as a serious violation and cause for disciplinary action, including the dismissal of the worker.

Alcohol and drug test at work policy

Alcohol and drug test at work

The policy of Alcohol and drug test at work aims to provide a safe and healthy work environment to workers throughout the organization.
The organization has the responsibility and commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all its workers and contractors. Alcohol and drug abuse is a problem to the health and safety at work. So, the organization should establish an Alcohol and Drug Program
made up of the following elements:

 

  1. Education and Awareness Program: that provides educational sessions to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, which should be regular.
  2. Detection Program: The Safety Department in coordination with the Administration and Surveillance Service will maintain a Detection Program for the identification of alcohol or drug use through pre-occupational, annual, post-accident and random tests. Workers who do not report said condition and are identified through the detection Program will be subject to disciplinary action.

Exceptions:
Workers who for medical reasons must use prescription drugs whose action may affect them during their work, they must inform their supervisor before starting their work.

Drug and alcohol testing at work policy

Alcohol and drug test at work

All drug and alcohol-related policies must be outlined in a formal corporate document defining drug and alcohol use at work. These documents should provide clear instructions to employees and employers. Formal information on the consequences of non-compliance with the rules. Details on how problems related to consumption will be addressed and a procedure by which employees who have a problem may request help.

Alcohol and drug test at work

The Advantages of drug and alcohol Detection Policies

Alcohol and drug test at work

Effective Alcohol and drug test at work policies can help ensure the safety of employees and others in the vicinity. They can act as red flags to make all employees aware of the risks, consequences and legal costs of their actions. They also help preserve the reputation of the company and its products. Protect company assets from damage and theft, reduce absenteeism and raise team morale, and expose company standards. All of these can have a direct effect on the progress and efficiency of your business.

An Alcohol and drug test at work policy can have positive effects in reducing costs and potential problems in the workplace. Furthermore, ensuring that employees are in the good physical condition and can work safely should be a priority for any business. (illegal) drug use by employees results in higher absenteeism and decreased productivity, among other negative factors.

Additionally, many employers implement drug screening procedures before hiring (and sometimes after hiring) to protect themselves from liability for the actions of their workers. And while many workers believe that drug testing violates their right to privacy, employers often have the protection of the law, as long as they comply with state and federal regulations and apply the policy equally.

Alcohol and drug test at work detection process

Alcohol and drug test at work

Preventive, random, depersonalized controls will be carried out and applicable to all its workers, to detect the presence of alcohol and drugs. The free Alcohol and drug test at work policy must be published in all the Headquarters/Projects of the organization; in a place accessible to all workers and will be reviewed once a year, to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate for the business.

This policy is part of the Quality, Safety, Health policy Occupational, Environment and Social Responsibility. It will be communicated to all collaborators with the intention that they are aware of their individual OHS obligations.

The free Alcohol and drug test at work policy must be approved and worded, dated and signed by the executive president and the general manager; which will be available to all collaborators and stakeholders.

What is a drug and alcohol test for employment

Alcohol and drug test at work

Employees may be required to document that they are successfully following prescribed treatment and to complete and pass follow-up tests if they have jobs such as driving. An employer needs to be up-to-date with changes in the law on substance use. There are six categories of tests related to times when such tests can be carried out in the workplace:

  1. For a specific reason,
  2. After an incident,
  3. Random,
  4. Before entering the job,
  5. After rehabilitation/return to work and specific to a certain position.
  6. Employers and workplaces that want to test employees for drugs and alcohol should have a policy in place to do so.

Drug testing before hiring

Alcohol and drug test at work

Some employers view pre-employment drug testing as an unnecessary cost on their part. However, when considering the potential cost of dealing with a drug user on your staff, you quickly see the value. At what point would you find out that someone in your company is using illicit drugs?

Alcohol and drug test at work

Alcohol and drug test at work leads to a reduction in accidents, which is a pretty good indicator that a workplace has a safe working environment. That can only motivate employees to be more productive, knowing that their employers are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe on the job. According to HSE, consider these warning signs, which could indicate drug or alcohol misuse:

Alcohol and drug test at work

  • Unexplained or frequent absences
  • A change in behaviour
  • Unexplained dips in productivity
  • Further, more accidents or near-misses
  • Performance or conduct issues
  • Drug testing during employment

The company will also not allow employees to perform their duties while taking prescription medications that adversely affect their ability to perform their job duties safely and effectively. Employees taking a prescription must carry it, prescribed by a doctor.

Periodic Alcohol and drug test at work are generally scheduled in advance and administered uniformly. Some employers use it annually, especially if physical exams are required for work. Employees are generally more accepting of these tests than unannounced tests, but employees can prepare them by stopping using drugs several days in advance.

Drug Screening During Employment

Many states have laws that limit the conditions under which an employer can require employees to submit to a drug test. Typically, employers must justify testing employees for business or security needs, or in response to suspected drug use such as opioids, hallucinogens, or pain relievers. In general, although they differ by state, it is permissible to test employees for illegal drug use under the following circumstances:

  • The employer’s work poses a significant danger to the safety of himself or others.
  • The employee is enrolled in or has just been discharged from a drug rehabilitation program.
  • Management has a reasonable suspicion that a particular employee has been using illegal drugs, based on behaviour or physical evidence.
  • State and federal regulations require employees in certain professions to be drug tested, including airline pilots and those who operate heavy machinery.

These regulations require testing for amphetamines, cannabinoids (marijuana), cocaine, opioids (heroin, morphine), and phencyclidine (phencyclidine, PCP), which requires a physician’s evaluation.

Invasion of privacy

Attempts to prevent drug testing because it violates employee privacy have been unsuccessful. This is because the tests themselves do generally not violate an individual’s rights, although sometimes the way the test is carried out (or the use of the results) can constitute a violation.

For example, the US Supreme Court held that positive drug test results cannot be used in subsequent criminal cases without the employee’s consent.

In addition, a drug test can be challenged on constitutional grounds if the results are disclosed indiscriminately, if the test is conducted in a way that violates a person’s right to privacy, or if the test is conducted excessively or improperly.

Medical marijuana

At least 33 states have enacted laws allowing the use of medical marijuana by patients with health problems. Still, employees in those states are not required to provide reasonable accommodation to people who use medical marijuana.

In other words, employers are free to ignore a legitimate state-issued medical marijuana certificate.

One of the legal reasons behind this situation is that employers could be liable for any workplace injury caused by an employee who tested positive for marijuana, whether or not it was for medical use.

Another reason is that certain employers (such as commercial trucking companies) must comply with federal regulations that require drug testing.

As an employee, you can be fired for using medical marijuana, even if you are not under the influence of the drug during work hours.

State Laws About Drug Testing

Most states have laws that address workplace drug testing, either by limiting the circumstances under which drug testing can be done or by providing incentives to employers who test.

The following is a brief sample of state drug testing policies:

California: Employers who obtain state contracts or grants must certify that they will provide a drug-free work environment (similar to the federal requirement); contractors must also provide a written policy to their employees.

Florida: State law gives priority to those contractors who have implemented a drug-free work environment policy; receiving a discount on premiums for workers’ compensation.

New York: No drug testing legislation; state courts have upheld random drug and alcohol testing of urban bus drivers, police officers, and corrections officers.

Texas: Businesses with more than 15 employees (and workers’ compensation coverage) must adopt the workplace drug reduction policy of their choice.

Saudi Arabia:

Expats in Saudi Arabia must undergo medical examinations at the beginning of their contract. Additionally, lawyers warn that these may include drug screening, given the nation’s strict approach to narcotics.

In addition, employers can conduct random drug and alcohol testing of employees using the Ministry of Labor’s accredited system and government-designated registered clinics. This service is particularly common in the oil and gas industry.

India: Drug screening is not prohibited in India and the same can be done with the consent of the candidate and existing laws.

Can I refuse a drug test at work?

Alcohol and drug test at work

Applicants have the right to refuse the test, but such refusal usually implies the rejection of the job offer. The company will assist and support employees who voluntarily seek help for drug or alcohol problems before being subject to disciplinary action or termination under company policies.

Alcohol and drug test at work

The company reserves the right to inspect all parts of its facilities for drugs, alcohol or other contraband; Affected employees may have union representation involved in this process. All employees, contract employees, and visitors should cooperate in searches of their people, work areas, and property that may conceal drugs, alcohol, or other contraband.

Alcohol and drug test at work

Refusing to cooperate” means obstructing the collection or testing process; submitting an altered, adulterated or substitute sample; not showing up for a scheduled test; refusing to complete the requested drug test forms; or failing to promptly provide the sample (s) for testing when prompted, without a valid medical basis for the failure.

Reasonable suspicion

Alcohol and drug test at work

Management should implement a Suspicion Observation Checklist to know that employee is under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. Examples include:

  • Odours (odour of alcohol, body odour, or urine).
  • Movements (unstable, restless, dizzy).
  • Eyes (reddish or watery eyes, or involuntary eye movements).
  • Face (flushed, sweaty, confused, or blank).
  • Speaks (dragged, slow, distracted in mid-thought, inability to verbalize thoughts).
  • Emotions (argumentative, agitated, irritable, sleepy).
  • Actions (yawning, spasms).
  • Inactions (sleeping, unconscious, without reaction to questions).

Random alcohol and drug testing at work

Alcohol and drug test at work

Random tests are performed unpredictably and without notice to employees. Furthermore, some workers misuse legal drugs (prescription) when there is no valid prescription from a doctor for the legal use of a drug in the course of medical treatment (packaging must include the patient’s name, name of the substance, quantity/quantity).

Return to work testing involves a one-time advertised test when an employee who has tested positive has completed required substance abuse treatment and is ready to return to the workplace. Some employers also use this type of test for any employee who has been absent for an extended period. The benefits of drug and alcohol testing for an organization are numerous, but here are four pertinent benefits.

Promote a safer work environment

Alcohol and drug test at work

A safer workplace is perhaps the greatest advantage of workplace drug testing because it promotes health and safety in the workplace. This is especially true for safety-sensitive jobs that involve handling hazardous chemicals, operating heavy machinery, or driving vehicles and construction.

If any of them work under the influence of the drug of their the risks of a work-related accident increase significantly. However, regardless of the industry, any workplace accident can lead to significant losses, injuries and even fatalities. When that happens, the company will expose to a wide variety of public relations responsibilities and problems.

Improve staff morale

Alcohol and drug test at work

Drug abuse in the workplace is often synonymous with problems for everyone. When employees experience that drug and alcohol testing is being strictly implemented in the company, they are committed to providing a safe work environment for everyone. That raises morale among staff, which is always good for any organization.

Reduce potential conflict/violence in the workplace

Alcohol and drug test at work

Drug addicts tend to behave a bit more aggressively, especially those who addiction to drugs like cocaine. By implementing a drug-testing program, the organization will be able to identify and deal with employees who abuse drugs before any incident of conflict and violence occurs.

Create a healthier workplace

Alcohol and drug test at work

Certainly, establish objective criteria that will trigger a post-accident test and how and who will determine and document them. Employers should also have guidelines for specifying how soon post-accident testing must occur for the results to be relevant. Substances remain in a person’s system for various periods and post-accident testing is generally recommended within 12 hours.

Here are common medications that are used as drugs:

Alcohol and drug test at work

Alcohol and drug test at work

  • Amitriptyline (Amitril): an antidepressant
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin): an antidepressant.
  • Dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Delsym) – Found in many over-the-counter cough suppressants.
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem): used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) or to reduce the heart rate.
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): An antihistamine found in allergy medications or sleep aids.
  • Metformin (Glucophage) – A common oral diabetes medication.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) and trazodone: are used to treat depression.
  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) – Used for nasal and sinus congestion. Labetalol (Trandate): Used to control blood pressure.
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin) – Used to treat ADHD.
  • Doxylamine – Found in over-the-counter sleeping pills.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft): an antidepressant.
  • Tramadol (Ultram): used to treat pain.
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel): an antidepressant.
  • Phentermine (Adipex-P): weight loss drug.
  • Oxaprozin (Daypro): An anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis.
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR): an antidepressant.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole): used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and symptoms of heartburn.
  • Quinolone antibiotics (levofloxacin, ofloxacin) – Used to treat urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sinus infections, and more.

Other types of tests

Alcohol and drug test at work

For example, perforation of follow-up testing or post-rehab testing periodically after an employee returns to the workplace after completing rehab for a drug or alcohol problem. Another type of test, the general test, is similar to the random test for individual suspicions. Other types of testing include voluntary, trial, pre-promotion, and return-after-illness testing.

Conclusion

Alcohol and drug test at work

Many states have laws that limit the conditions under which an employer can require employees to take a drug test. Typically, employers must justify testing employees with business or safety needs, or in response to suspected use of drugs such as opioids, hallucinogens, or pain relievers.

The employee was involved in a workplace incident in which drug use is suspected. Management has a reasonable suspicion that a certain employee has been using illegal drugs, based on their behaviour or physical evidence.

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