A drug-free workplace program depends on the existence and implementation of several critical factors. For example, it must include the creation of a clear and thorough policy, frequent reviews and updates to the policy, employee education and awareness, and drug-free workplace training. This last step ensures all employees and supervisors understand their roles within the process and know the proper steps to take if an employee is suspected of substance abuse.
Drug-Free Workplace Training
Typically companies conduct drug-free workplace training in two groups: employees and supervisors. Since each group likely has different responsibilities under the policy, this division ensures both groups can be trained quickly and efficiently.
How are employees trained?
The employee training session should follow the guidelines set forth in the company’s drug-free workplace policy. Although this will vary from company to company, the training typically covers the following topics:
- Which employees are covered by the policy
- Under what circumstances an employee can be tested for drugs or alcohol
- The consequences of violating the policy
- The methods used for testing
- The procedures involved in testing
- Which drugs employees are being tested for under the policy
- What level of blood alcohol concentration violates the policy
- How the company will protect employees’ confidentiality
- Training requirements
- Counseling and recovery options (if available)
The training session must address specific state regulations as well. For more information, discuss your needs with a reputable and experienced provider of drug and alcohol screening services in your state. In addition, if your company has facilities in multiple locations, your policy and training must be consistent with the requirements of each state in which the company operates.
Although most experts recommend companies conduct employee training when the drug-free workplace program is established, it is also highly important to retrain employees when the company changes the policy. We recommend you conduct an annual refresher course as well to ensure all employees are up to speed. Finally, consider posting the policy in a place that can easily be accessed by all employees. For example, you could post the policy on your website or provide printed literature to new hires (and all current workers).
How are supervisors trained?
Training for supervisors often follows the guidelines set forth by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug-testing program. During the training session, the supervisors will be taught they are required by the company’s policy and/or state regulations to determine if the company should conduct reasonable suspicion testing on an employee. They will also learn:
- How to identify and investigate situations that may violate the policy
- The behavioral, physical, and emotional signs of drug and alcohol usage
- The physical signs of substance abuse (certain products, paraphernalia, odors, etc.)
- How to intervene when drug or alcohol use is suspected
- How to protect employee confidentiality
- How to refer employees who have problems with drugs or alcohol
- How to maintain a safe, secure, and productive work environment
- How to distinguish between crisis situations and performance problems
- How to document and report crisis situations and performance problems
Since supervisors have direct contact with employees, they play a crucial role in all drug-free workplace programs. They can detect performance issues indicative of substance abuse and relay their concerns to the proper authority.
Remind your supervisors and managers they are not responsible for diagnosing a drug-related issue, providing counseling, or acting as a pseudo-police officer. Provide clear instructions, so your supervisors carry out their responsibilities without overstepping their boundaries. Supervisors should primarily act as observers, watching employees’ job performances and reporting problem behavior. They must be consistent with all employees as well, fairly evaluating all situations and not playing favorites.
The Importance of Training
Without effectual training, your employees may not know what to expect from your drug-testing program, which can result in frustration and anger. In addition, your supervisors require rigorous training to ensure they know how to identify drug or alcohol use, how to report reasonable suspicion, and how to maintain a safe and secure workplace.
When you combine this training with a well-written and up-to-date policy, you can improve your work environment in numerous ways. Not only will this help you protect your employees’ health and safety, but it will also help you make great strides in morale and productivity. Many companies also find a drug-free workplace program saves money by reducing healthcare costs, preventing accidents, and increasing efficiency and output.
If you’re looking to implement a drug-free workplace program through drug and alcohol testing, contact Tomo Drug Testing. Based in Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri, and Indianapolis, Indiana, we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows Tomo Drug Testing to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!