It is easy to assume that drug and alcohol testing is only needed for physical or ‘dangerous’ jobs. However, as the Health and Safety Executive states, “You could be breaking the law if you knowingly allow drug-related activities in your workplace, and you fail to act. It is just as important to know the implications to both your employees and business of not tackling drug misuse, particularly where safety is involved.” 

Drug and alcohol testing acts as a deterrent to discourage substance abuse in the workplace. By performing a random workplace drug and alcohol testing screen, it is possible to identify abusers before a serious accident or mistake occurs and sanction the necessary treatment. It may begin to clarify why certain staff members take unexplained time off work, make mistakes, or have a change in behaviour. 

Drug or alcohol misuse at work can: 

  • reduce productivity 
  • increase sickness and absenteeism
  • damage the reputation of the business
  • put employees and members of the public in unnecessary danger 

Implementing a workplace drug and alcohol testing programme is a powerful method proven to deter misuse of alcohol in the workplace. 

Given that consent is required for drug-testing in the workplace, if screening employees forms a necessary part of your health and safety risk assessment and risk management at work, it is important to have in place a drugs and alcohol policy that sets out the need for testing, how tests will be conducted, how this information will be used and the consequences for an employee of a positive test result or refusing a test altogether. 

Your policy could be included within your overall health and safety policy, or as a separate document. Either way, this must be incorporated into the employee’s contract or staff handbook, forming part of their contractual terms and conditions of employment. 

Your policy should also clearly explain the company rules relating to the use of drugs and alcohol at work, as well as the consequences of breaching these rules. By having a policy relating to drug and alcohol misuse in place, this can not only help to deter excessive or illicit use both inside and outside of work but allow you to communicate to your workforce what support can be offered. 

Racoo Screening works with companies of all sizes to help implement effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policies. We also offer a complete drug and alcohol testing service, e-learning and staff training. To find out more, contact us here.