As misuse of alcohol and drugs becomes of increasing concern in society, the issue of substance misuse by employees is also assuming greater importance. Today, there are legal obligations to provide employees with a safe working environment.
NIVHA not only provide a full range of workplace drug and alcohol solutions for pre-employment, unannounced or for-cause testing using urine, oral fluid, breath or hair but we are also acutely aware that companies with only a few employees need the same benefits afforded by a drug and alcohol policy and procedures as companies with 1000 employees. Indeed the impact on the productivity of a small organisation can be significantly affected by even one employee affected by drugs and alcohol.
Under current legislation, employers have a duty of care to their employees. Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992, an employer could be prosecuted if they knowingly allow employees to continue working if affected by alcohol or drugs.
A drug-testing program is straightforward to implement but requires careful attention to detail. It must be seen to be fair and reasonable; two important considerations when the actions taken based on the findings can be appealed in an Industrial Tribunal or Court of Law.
When implementing a drug testing program, organisations must remember that the majority of their employees will not be misusing drugs and must be treated with due respect. Organisations must also be prepared for challenges to positive results. To protect all individuals and provide fully defensible results, testing should be carried out by proven analytical methods in an experienced laboratory that is properly accredited.
An effective drug and alcohol policy will contain measures both to identify and to deter the use of prohibited substances by means of a suitable testing program, helping to create and maintain this environment.
Testing should be regarded as a tool to support the substance abuse policy.
According to the Chartered Institute for Professional Development having a clear policy on drug misuse is essential. The policy should aim to prevent drug misuse by raising employees’ awareness through education programmes on health and safety risks. It should concentrate on encouraging those with a problem to come forward at an early stage before accidents happen or performance suffers. The emphasis should be on rehabilitation with dismissal as a last resort.
Advice and Counselling should be part of a substance misuse (drug and alcohol) policy. Most company policies can accommodate employees who are identified as having a drug or alcohol problem or who come seeking help.
NIVHA can advise on the provision of expert counselling and rehabilitation services for employees. These services are confidential and operate to established professional guidelines.
It is NIVHA policy to provide customers with the necessary tools, training and support to enable drug and alcohol testing to be carried out in-house using your own staff. The success of modern breathtesting and oral fluid screening technology has now made this possible.
This approach can be a particularly cost-effective. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about this exciting approach to testing.
All laboratory work is accredited to UKAS 17025 standard. Our practice adheres to European guidelines for workplace drug testing (ewdts.org).