Drug use continues to be a major concern for business owners, managers, and safety team members. Keeping employees safe in the workplace can be a difficult task, but dealing with employees who are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances can add a significant amount of additional complication. If you’re ready to get serious about a drug-free workplace, here are some tips and strategies you can implement in the new year.

Set and reinforce expectations

The first step you should take is to develop a written drug-free workplace policy. These zero-tolerance policies help to set the expectations and standards that govern your workplace. Ensure that every employee receives a copy of the policy upon hire and that they sign the policy acknowledgment.

Your policy should be clearly defined and include information about how and when drug tests may be conducted. Many companies opt for a pre-employment drug test and then conduct randomized or incident-related drug tests. Additionally, your policy should spell out consequences for violation. All employees should be treated equally under the policy. To ensure that employees understand that you’re serious about your policy, require each employee to sign a new drug-free workplace policy acknowledgment each year.

Talk about tough issues

Safety meetings are a prime opportunity for your safety team to reinforce the serious consequences of drug use on the job and of your company’s commitment to maintaining a drug-free workplace. Employees will only take your policy as seriously as your management and safety team do, so be sure to put it front and center.

If you hold weekly or monthly safety meetings, shoot for discussing workplace drug use issues once per quarter. Some examples of meeting topics include:

● Alcohol on the job
● Long-term effects of drug use on your work performance and safety
● Non-prescription drug use and workplace safety
● Warning signs of drug use
● Reporting suspected drug use

Demonstrating your commitment to maintaining a drug-free workplace is an essential component in helping your employees understand the importance of your policy. For even more topic ideas, check out Safety Meeting Topics for Your Employees.

Tackle opioid issues head-on

The epidemic of opioid drug use has caused serious concern for employers, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and workers throughout Ohio. To help combat the issue, the BWC and the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) boards in three of Ohio’s hardest-hit counties have developed a joint venture called the Opioid Workplace Safety Pilot Program. To participate in the pilot program, employers must be located in Montgomery, Ross, or Scioto counties.

Participating employers are partnered with individuals in recovery who have been designated as ready to re-enter the workforce. These employees are required to participate in pre-employment, random, and reasonable-suspicion drug testing. Managers and supervisors receive training to manage and retain workers in recovery, as well as how to identify the signs of opioid drug use.

Even if you’re not located in one of these counties, you can still contact your local ADAMHS board or the BWC for more information about identifying signs of potential drug use. You can also learn more about the program by reading the Opioid Workplace Safety Pilot Program.

Plan ahead for medical marijuana

In January of 2019, Ohio’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened. Unlike some other states that have strict laws governing medical marijuana and employment-related law, Ohio’s medical marijuana laws do not prohibit employers from dismissing, disciplining, or refusing to hire individuals based on their medical marijuana use.

Ohio employers may prohibit employees from working while impaired by medical marijuana. It’s important to spell out your policy in writing and to ensure that it is equally applied to all employees. Ohio’s medical marijuana laws also do not require employers to take drug use factors out of hiring or dismissal. Your policies may still include drug testing and zero-tolerance policies that protect the help and safety of your professionals. Check out HR Concerns in the Age of Medical Marijuana Legalization to learn more about keeping your workplace compliant and your employees safe.

Your partner in safety

When employees are under the influence, serious injury or death is more likely to occur. Keeping your workers safe while on the job is your top priority – and helping you do that is priority number one for Sheakley Workforce Management Services. Our experts are here to help you develop better policies and provide assistance with developing drug-free workplace safety programs to help you achieve your safety goals.

Get your free safety consultation with a Sheakley expert today. Stay up-to-date on all things Sheakley by subscribing to our blog and following us on social media. Join the discussion by commenting below.