Why does a company need a substance abuse policy?
The company substance abuse policy was created to protect employees and to ensure that the company is complying with all state and federal laws pertaining to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) General Duty Clause states that each employer:
- Shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. (Employees who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are a recognized hazard in the workplace).
- Shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act(OSHA strongly supports measures that contribute to a drug-free environment and reasonable programs of drug testing within a comprehensive workplace program).
- Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.
Any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates the requirements of OSHA’s General Duty Clause may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $70,000 for each violation, but not less than $5,000.
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 81) is an act of the United States which requires some federal contractors and all federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency.
Along with this federal law, many states have enacted their own Drug-Free Workplace Acts that require businesses with state contracts to implement and maintain a drug-free workplace program. All of these Drug-Free Workplace Acts require that employers implement and enforce a policy of maintaining a drug free workplace a Substance Abuse Policy).
When state and federal laws require businesses to have and post certain policies in areas that are regulated by law, employers have no choice but to comply by instituting such policies.
Several states have passed laws that provide state-mandated discounts on workers comp insurance to companies that implement drug free workplace programs. In addition, many insurers offer voluntary discounts to their clients who implement a drug free workplace program. These discounts require that as a first step, businesses must implement and enforce a Substance Abuse Policy.
Why Should Employees Obey the Substance Abuse Policy?
Policies, procedures, and work rules are necessary in every business. These rules protect the company and its employees, and when correctly implemented, enforced, and obeyed, they create and maintain a better work environment for all.
Simply put, a Substance Abuse Policy makes the workplace safer. Workplace health and safety should be a concern and a major aspect of all companies, and every business should have rules and regulations that maintain order and a healthy working environment.
Obeying workplace safety policies substantially decreases the possibility of accidents. Consequently, this reduces employer healthcare costs and frees up money for employee salary increases.
A Substance Abuse Policy can also help ensure that the company’s drug free workers provide the highest quality goods and products available. This enhances the value of the company’s merchandise and services and protects and improves the company’s reputation. When the workforce is drug-free, all employees can know they are fulfilling their roles and take pride in their work.
Obeying workplace policies helps to ensure that the company will remain in business and keeps employees from losing their jobs. Wrongdoing, misconduct, or violation of company rules may result in an employee losing his or her job altogether. Job security is important to most individuals, and Substance Abuse Policies can serve as a deterrent to drug and alcohol abuse.
Having a Substance Abuse Policy in place reduces liability risks for the company and limits interruptions in operations. Employees can feel safe and comfortable in a drug free work environment knowing that supervisors and coworkers are not coming to work impaired. When supervisors enforce the company substance abuse policy, it makes the workplace more enjoyable for everyone.
Caring employers always take proper measures to ensure that all workers obey workplace rules and policies like the Substance Abuse Policy. This helps in maintaining a balanced workplace and in promoting workplace wellness.
Of course, it is difficult — if not impossible — to obey a policy that one has not read. Therefore, it is important for all employees to read and fully understand the company Substance Abuse Policy. Employees who have questions about the policy are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor for assistance.
The company wants everyone to know that they can always ask for clarification of any rules and procedures when necessary. When everyone comprehends and is following company policies, the business can operate safely and smoothly.
Originally published by The Council on Alcohol and Drugs. Used with permission.