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Seven Keys to a Successful Drug & Alcohol Policy

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By Wayne St. John

our drug and alcohol policy sets the stage for a successful fit-for-duty program. Having a welldocumented policy provides a framework for dealing with the difficult, and often time-sensitive issues surrounding substance abuse, medical conditions and related stress and fatigue. So what makes a good policy? We have witnessed seven keys that our partners with successful policies share. They include: 1. Purpose of the policy Although the obvious purpose would be to have people not come into work under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, there also needs to be more depth in the underlying end result desired. What goals will this policy help your company achieve? Do you want a safer workplace? How about a decrease in injuries? Increased productivity due to less downtime caused by accidents and near misses? A good policy should align with, and contribute to, the overall safety goals of the company. 2. Roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employees Having a successful policy means that both supervisors and employees are aware of and understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of what is expected of them when at work. It should outline the job tasks, duties as well as a chain of command. This helps those in knowing what is expected of them, the tasks they may be faced with as well as the person(s) they should contact in times of need. 3. Definitions A rundown of the terms that are used within the policy will allow for clarity, and also deny anyone the excuse “Well I didn’t know what that meant”. Being clear and concise about the specific terms, even if they seem obvious, will give a company something to fall back on if a dispute occurs with employees who claims they didn’t understand. 4. Description of the circumstances under which testing takes place All employees should understand why, when and how testing would take place. Listing the circumstances that 28

Cannabis Prospect Magazine | June 2019

would be deemed “testable” is important to outline, as it will give everyone an understanding of when it is appropriate for testing to occur. 5. Consequences for employees who refuse testing or testing positive Creating a list of consequences that is accessible, visible and easily understood by employees is important in ensuring that everyone is aware of what would happen to them if they choose to refuse a test. If by chance, employees were to say they didn’t know of any such rules, the employer would just have to reference the policy where it is all stated. 6. Self-disclosure and accommodation The policy should provide the requirement for employees to disclose should they have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse. The employer would then have the responsibility to protect these employees and assist them in seeking rehabilitation. The policy should outline all the steps taken when this happens to ensure the rights and interests of both the employee and employer are protected. 7. How results will be stored and what will be done to ensure confidentiality This is very sensitive information of a private nature. Great care is needed so that it is not shared inappropriately. Who has access to the results and in what circumstances? How does your Third Party Administrator (TPA) deliver the results to ensure that only the right people have access? How does your TPA ensure your employee’s private and confidential information is protected throughout the chain of custody? Outlining the answers to these questions within the policy will help improve employee confidence in the policy. A good policy is a foundation for a successful program that helps companies meet their safety goals; a policy development starter kit can be found on CannAmm’s website (www.cannamm) to help your company start your policy. Wayne St. John is a sales manager at CannAmm Occupational Testing Services

Profile for Cannabis Prospect Magazine

Cannabis Prospect Magazine - June '19 - #Issue 3  

Cannabis Prospect Magazine is Canada’s premier trade publication for cannabis industry professionals. With six issues to be printed and dist...

Cannabis Prospect Magazine - June '19 - #Issue 3  

Cannabis Prospect Magazine is Canada’s premier trade publication for cannabis industry professionals. With six issues to be printed and dist...