Drug & Alcohol monitoring in the workplace

If you are considering implementing a Drug & Alcohol policy in your workplace, there are some considerations that should be worked through prior to the introduction of the policy. Though there is case law available that has supported employer’s decision to terminate a worker, there are as many cases where the worker has overturned this decision due to poor design and implementation of the policy.
However, before getting to a court of law to determine if a termination was just, employers should ensure that their company’s drug and alcohol policies are developed through a consultative approach to assist in defining all the issues and how the process will evolve should a breach be identified.
The Policy should
– clearly define in simple terms what is unacceptable behaviour, including any forms of disciplinary behaviour such as dismissal.
– be part of a structured communication process that ensures a consistent message is given to all workers including new workers, contractors and visitors to site.
– consider precautions to be implemented that consider False Positives and even the possibility of faulty measuring equipment used as part of the initial testing. These units are becoming more precise however they are only indicators of a Non Negative and that a Positive result is only provided from the NATA testing agency. Management reacting too early; victimising or even seen to be punishing a worker at this early stage should be cautioned.
In short when implementing any workplace policy, employers need to ensure the policy is clear, widely and consistently disseminated in an easily to understand format to assist in avoiding any confusion or a HR issue.

Safe Work Australia – National Safe Work Month

Safe Work Australia have launched this year’s National Safe Work month that aims to improve awareness of work health and safety, encourage discussion about safety at work and share positive workplace stories from across Australia.

Safe Work Australia are continuing to support the National Safe Work Month with a range of resources for businesses, by hosting workplace participation reward programs and sharing stories and statistics about work health and safety.

You can be involved in this special initiative by

– Attending events in your workplace or in your local area.

– Downloading the resource kit to help promote the month in your workplace.

– Sharing the National Safe Work Month messages through your online channels.

– Entering the Workplace Participation Reward and showcase your workplace.

– Watching the Safe Work Month video messages.

– Watching free online seminars showcasing the latest thinking, research, developments and best practice in work health and safety, available from October at seminars.swa.gov.au

– Connecting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find out about local events and to share your safe work month workplace stories. Use the hashtag #safeworkmonth to join the conversation.

Be Part of Safe Work Month and assist in raising awareness about work health and safety within your organisation.