Time to address the elephant in the room.
Many employers believe what people choose to do outside of work is none of their business. As a result, they expose themselves and the business to risk. The effects of drug and alcohol use can and do extend into the workplace.
Things to consider
- Directors and Officers can assume personal responsibility when things go wrong.
- Focusing on compliance, without considering operations can lead to increased business risk.
- Being proactive increases opportunities for personal and organisational growth.
- Drug testing people can be important, but on its own, it is not enough.
How bad is it?
Illicit drug use is being normalised. Abuse of prescription drugs is commonplace. Alcohol is widely promoted and consumed. As a result, business owners are increasingly exposed to the risks presented by employees and contractors, who choose to arrive at work in a drug and/or alcohol affected state.
Statistics show that around 1 in 5 workers will fail a test for the presence of illegal drugs in their urine!
With challenging issues like drugs and alcohol, you may be tempted to bury our heads in the sand. If you do so, the impact on the business and the people who control it, can be profound.
Ever increasing responsibility on employers
Erratic and violent behaviour by drug and alcohol impaired workers increases risk. Risk of accidents, theft and conversion as well as damage to the business reputation. Therefore, worker use of drugs and alcohol, presents a direct risk to your business.
These risks extend outside the workplace. The Domestic Violence Victim’s Protection Act 2018 means what happens at home, has a direct impact on your business. All too often, this violence is fuelled by drug and alcohol use. If you help your team manage these behaviours, everybody benefits.
Ensuring your team do not abuse drugs and alcohol, is essential if you want to manage both direct and indirect risks to your business.
Benefits of active risk management of drug and alcohol use
Understanding and actively managing risks associated with worker use of drugs and alcohol, delivers many benefits. Doing so is essential if Persons Conduction Businesses or Undertakings (PCBUs) wish to:
- Build a healthy, strong, high-performance culture that drives success.
- Make relationships with drug and alcohol lawful and respectful, improving worker and organisational health and wellbeing,
- Ensure obligations around worker safety are met, therefore reducing the potential for harm to the workers,
- Protect worker colleagues from the adverse behaviours of drug and alcohol impaired employees, leading to reduced workplace bullying, intimidation and theft
- Protect the business reputation from the negative behaviours of drug and alcohol impaired employees, maintaining confidence in the business
- Reduce the likelihood of theft and conversion within the business. Drug habits are expensive. These habits are fed by criminal activity. Getting this out of your business increases security of the business and employees
- Reduce the costs associated with supporting employees with drug and alcohol fueled violence in the home. As a result physical, emotional, mental and economic well being of all concerned is improved.
Want to enjoy the benefits that come from proactive management of the risks presented to your business by drugs and alcohol? Contact us to find out how we can help you and your team.
Drug and Alcohol Policy Development
Thinking beyond drug testing people, results in great outcomes.
We recommend a practical and pragmatic approach to the risk management of worker use of drugs and alcohol. This means, employers will improve their workplace culture, in turn increasing success for workers and the business.
We focus on drug testing people based on a recent use model. This is more nuanced than the more simplistic presence/absence approach to drug testing people. Presence/absence drug testing has been a feature of the workplace drug testing industry. This can result in employees making choices to use higher risk drugs. Counterproductive for all concerned!
How we work
In engaging with our clients we:
- Understand the organisational strategy and the workplace culture you want to have in place.
- Clarify how current risk management policies around the use of drugs and alcohol. As a result the strategy gains support.
- Help you define your approach to use of drugs and alcohol in your workplace.
- Tailor recent use oriented policies and procedures for your workplace. This may include actively drug testing people. These policies support the direction the business wants to go. In this way risk is mitigated and the operational needs of the business are met. Strengthening the business owner/worker relationship.
Drug and alcohol policy implementation
Engaging your leadership team and key influencers within the workforce with your Drug and Alcohol Policy, sets examples. These examples catalyse positive change.
Step 1 is to build worker understanding of what your policy means. Particularly in terms of work-related health – including mental health. This increases worker buy-in. Step 2 involves providing strategies to help workers manage drug and alcohol use. As a result, worker ownership of the Drug and Alcohol Policy grows
Drug testing people
Drug testing people may be part of the implementation strategy. A focus on oral fluid/saliva testing, maintains the dignity of staff. This reduces the resentment that can build. It also makes it easier for Standard compliant testing to be brought in house.
It can be hard looking your employees in the eye, when you have watched them pee in a cup!
As part of the workplace drug and alcohol policy implementation, testing of people may be required. Urine-based testing has been a feature of punitive presence/absence of drug and alcohol policies. Urine testing has a solid track record and can be employed around employment decisions.
However, urine testing can be profoundly confrontational for many people. This reality can damage employer/worker relationships. As a result, some employers choose not to actively screen their employees, removing a key deterrent when it comes to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.
Saliva based testing has seen significant advances in recent years. This approach to testing, is focused on recent use. A direct relationship between recent use and impairment has not yet been established for most illicit drugs. But, recent use increases the likelihood of impairment. It also demonstrates lower regard for the health and safety of work colleagues, when it comes to risks presented by drug use. All employees have an obligation at law to ensure their use of drugs and alcohol does not affect the health and well being of others.
With saliva based testing. the confrontation associated with urine based testing is avoided, helping preserve employer/worker relationships. The products we recommend are developed in accordance with Australia and New Zealand standards for saliva testing. They offer a non-invasive, high quality and affordable approach to identify workers who have recently used drugs and alcohol.
Testing can be conducted in house, after staff members have received the relevant training, or provided by members of the WDARMS team.
Addressing Issues and aligning attitudes
Practical and pragmatic approaches to overcoming drug and alcohol challenges make a difference. Years spent implementing drug and alcohol policies, mean we have plenty of experience to call on.
Raising team members awareness, increases understanding. Being clear on risks and opportunities reduces the likelihood drugs and alcohol will affect your workplace. We make presentations to key staff members and the wider team. These help build their confidence and competence around dealing with these matters. In this way, your decision to drug proof your business achieves its goal.
This training can include bringing the skills associated with drug testing people in house. Saving money, without compromising compliance.
Support and Advice from Experts
Rather than leave you with a problem, we have developed relationships with experts in their field. These relationships cover the key areas of specialist support you may need:
- Specialist HR support to help guide you through next steps, MyHR
- Coaches from ChristinaStroud.com help individuals change their attitudes to drugs and alcohol, reducing the negative impact on the business.
These wider, collaborative relationships are a critical part of what it takes to build a true solutions oriented model.
Training, Testing Equipment and Supplies
Proactively managing the risks presented by drugs and alcohol, requires access to high-quality services AND equipment. The WDARMS team actively sources state of the art equipment. In this way our customers to stay ahead of the curve. They also meet the requirements of local standards when it comes to drug testing people. As a result, they are able to take action as and when required.
Building in house capability
Drug testing people using third parties can become expensive. WDARMS sees the building of in-house capability as a key ingredient for success. This is why we provide high-quality products and training. As a result, people using the equipment understand what they are doing. They also appreciate the importance of the following process. This improves the value of the policy.
For people familiar with workplace drug testing, refreshers are also available. Therefore, you can remain current and up to date. Courses are developed to allow drug testing to be done in accordance with the following New Zealand Standards:
- AS/NZS 4308-2008 Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine
- AS/NZS 470-2019 Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in oral fluids
- AS3547 Breath alcohol testing for personal use