Drugs and Alcohol are a factor in 26% of workplace accidents in the UK according to the Charted Instituted of Personnel and Development. Fortunately, more and more companies are wising up to screening and testing as a way to keeping a control on a possible drug and alcohol problem in their workplace.
Although an incredibly sensitive issue, to ensure that the process produces as little controversy as possible, getting the acceptance of the workforce to the testing is vital. Your employees need to understand that drugs testing is one of the ways that you are fulfilling your duty of care and preventing risks. Drugs testing has also shown that in many cases staff feel a burden has been taken off their shoulders, as they no longer feel, albeit misguidedly that they have to shield/protect their colleagues when they come in hung over or drugged up to work from the boss. It can put a great strain on a working relationship, not to mention the many lost working hours!
Protecting management from being aware of an underactive workload, is also stopping them from being aware of a potential accident which could end up life threatening, especially if machinery is involved, along with the fact that management could also assist in obtaining medical help for their employee if circumstances required, providing they were aware of the situation.
Screening alone is not the sole answer, but prevention is an important tool. Policies are not always about discipline, they are also about information. A good Company’s Alcohol and Drugs Policy must always be accompanied by training, so employees understand what is expected from them, in and out of working hours.
Furthermore with vehicles used for company business deemed to be a place of work, employers must ensure the Health and Safety of employees even when they are driving, this includes ensuring others are not at risk by their employees work related driving. As the Government gears itself up for the introduction of new drug driving laws towards the end of this year, even more reason why Companies must sit up and not be scared of introducing screening and testing. You will probably be amazed at how your work rate will increase!