06th Aug, 2020 Read time 3 minutes

Steps to safe-guarding employees from substance misuse

When working to protect your employees from workplace dangers, part of the challenge is keeping them in the right frame of mind and body for performing tasks. The correct procedures and compliance methods are important, however individuals need to be operating safely for an environment to be considered safe. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when safeguarding your employees from substance and alcohol misuse.


  1. Put in place the correct support for employees

One of the challenges when it comes to dealing with drug misuse within the workplace is preventing issues before they arise. This can partly be achieved with a good support policy in place to help employees. Some of the most popular features of a good policy include openness to sick leave, access to external specialist and support groups plus regular catch-up meetings between management and each individual employee.


  1. Develop a clear policy on drug and alcohol misuse

In addition to relevant support facilities it is also important to have a formal health and safety policy for dealing with problems when they do arise. These should include clear distinctions on what is allowed and what isn’t. Also make sure you make it clear if you are reserving the right to routinely and randomly drug test employees. This will help mitigate any potential legal issues you may run into further down the line.


  1. Ensure all members of the organisation are included in your efforts

Another challenge that can arise when dealing with the misuse of substances in the workplace is getting consistency across the different levels of the organisation. This can be done through the education of staff at all levels of the business. If you are in a large organisation having semi-regular training will help reinforce positive behaviours in your employees.

Try and make it clear to new employees what the expectations around substance misuse is. This will increase the chance of them making more favorable decisions on the future. Stipulate the formal policy in the contact and foster a culture which will encourage them to avoid substance abuse


  1. Keep a policy that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment

When it comes to dealing with situations where substance or drug misuse has been unearthed, many take a path which leads to punishment for the individual involved. This can take the form of forced leave and dismissal. If you take more of a humanistic approach you can get the best of both worlds.

When it comes to safeguarding employees who have recovered from drug issues, changing the job role of the individual if they have a role which may be susceptible issues is a good way to remove them from the firing line. Another way to achieve this may be through authorising sickness leave for an individual having difficulty.


Make sure you take a holistic approach to safeguarding employees

Employee safety should be high on the list of priorities for any organisation looking to implement good health and safety practices. Make sure your business is compliant with the requirements of the law and has good behavioral practices in place to help employees deal with work related substance misuse.

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