Presenting D&A Program in Context of Safety and Health Drug and alcohol (D&A) programs should never be considered standalone programs. They are to be viewed as one component in a business-wide health program. Employers benefit from a healthy workforce through increased productivity, lower health care costs, and workers better able to manage stress. When D&A programs are presented in the context of healthy living and workplace safety, workers are more likely to view them in a positive light. When these same programs are not integrated with the concept of a healthy workplace, they are more likely to be seen as merely rules that are in place for legal reasons and as potential weapons for disciplining workers. Presenting a drug and alcohol program can begin with an organisational statement that commits to safety, health and productivity in the workplace. Avoiding negative statements is important. Instead of simply saying that illicit substances and alcohol are banned, the employer can stress a willingness to consult with workers to better understand the stress factors associated with their jobs that increase the temptation to find relief through drugs or alcohol. 1 Finally, directly connect the D&A program to the safety and health of workers and coworkers, contributing to a cohesive and supportive organisational culture. An Umbrella of Safety and Health Workers need to become familiar with the many benefits of a substance free workplace first, and only then should the legal rationale for the policies and procedures be presented. However, even the legal rationale should be presented from the safety perspective. The reason laws are in place is to minimise safety risks to workers, so employers can explain exactly how drugs and alcohol can negatively impact safety. In the presentation, general health information should be included to keep the D&A program in context. Unfortunately, many drug and alcohol programs are presented as if they are employer tools of enforcement and justification for taking disciplinary actions. This type of approach brings to mind the traffic officers who hide around a corner just waiting to catch a speeding car. The D&A policy, as an important component of a health program, should not be treated as if its sole intent is to “catch and punish.” Workers need to understand what situations or conditions the policy is trying to prevent and how compliance will benefit everyone and not just the employer. In fact, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (Part 2, Section23) clearly states that it is “...unlawful to dismiss or victimise an employee for making a complaint about a healthy and safety matter.” 2 Managers and supervisors can make it clear that drug and alcohol policies and procedures are in place to help and not hurt workers.
Supportive Approach Finally, as for any health related issue, workers must understand how to get help when they need it. The employer should be supportive of workers coping with stress and addiction and be prepared to help the worker find resources. Help can take many forms including a formal Employee Assistance Plan, health insurance coverage for rehabilitation or counselling services, and contact information for local resources. An essential component of any drug and alcohol program is the quality of onsite drugs and alcohol screening. Mediscreen (mediscreen.net.au) is prepared to provide professional services that increase an employerâ€™s drug and alcohol program credibility and legal defensibility. This article has been taken from : http://www.mediscreen.net.au/articles/presentingda-program-in-context-of-safety-and-health/
Published on Sep 12, 2013
Published on Sep 12, 2013
Mediscreen provides drug testing program with credibility and your company with greater legal defensibility. You will get the services of dr...