How to Create a Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Dec 10, 2021

When you think of a “drug-free workplace,” you might think of jobs that require heavy manual labor where employees under the influence are a significant safety risk. For example, construction sites and trucking companies. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a strict drug-free workplace policy, requiring their employees to be tested regularly. However, drug testing is available to non-DOT employees as well!

An employee who has a substance use problem can cost your business around $7000 per year, and this cost can double depending on the nature of their role. An estimated one in 12 workers in the US has a drug problem. Here are some tips to help create a drug-free workplace policy in your business.

Be Transparent With Your Employees

For some industries, drug testing is a regular, required part of the job—such as with the DOT Drug and Alcohol Test. But for other businesses, drug testing may be a new or unfamiliar process. Be clear and upfront with your employees from day one, so there are no surprises. If you’re implementing a new policy with existing employees, have them all read and sign a document—preferably with a witness co-signing—and give them space to ask questions or voice concerns. This will help prevent any employees from feeling singled out.

Don’t Forget The Details

As with any company policy, it’s important to iron out any details. Work with your business’s lawyer to draft the official statement to ensure you are acting within your rights as an employer.

  • Define which substances are prohibited.
  • Outline the type of test(s) your company will require.
  • Reassure employees that test results will be kept confidential (both positive and negative).
  • Outline any consequences, such as termination.
  • Make sure every employee has read, understood, and signed a copy of the policy. Keep this signed copy in their employee file in case you need to refer back to it in the future.

Have a Plan for Positive Test Results

Many employers tend to treat their drug-free workplace policies as a “warning system,” assuming that it will be enough to deter employees from working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, it’s important to have a plan in place in case an employee tests positive.

Will your business include access to rehabilitation or substance use support programs? Will termination be immediate and mandatory, or will there be a probationary period? Can an employee who was previously terminated re-apply? All of these conditions should be addressed and outlined in your policy.

Conduct Regular, Random Testing

You’ve created this policy, you’ve gotten your employees on board—now it’s time to put it into action! After all, what good is a workplace policy if you’re not following through with it? At Advantage Drug Testing, we provide objective, confidential, third-party testing for both DOT employers and non-DOT employers in North Andover, MA. Visit our website to learn more about our services, or call 978-475-1312 to get in touch today.