Employer Practices That Give a Positive Return on Investment
There are a number of strategies employers may use to mitigate risk of marijuana, or any substance use, in the workplace, whether on the road, in the warehouse, or the office. These practices need not cost the company considerable time or money to implement or be effective.
- Update your drug-free workplace written policy. Ensure it offers a strong prohibition to substance use, and specifies the consequences for violations. Give every employee a copy and have them acknowledge receipt of your policy.
- Implement drug-testing for all employees. This could include pre-employment, reasonable-cause, post-accident, and random testing, but since laws vary in states and even municipalities, be sure to check your laws and statutes. Even If you are mandated to test drivers through DOT regulations, they could also be subject to your non-DOT testing program. Check with your drug-testing administrator. Random testing of up to 25% of your employees per year is a practice implemented by many employers.
- Train your supervisors on the signs and symptoms of substance abuse. Also ensure they have been fully apprised of the procedures of your disciplinary protocol and trained in good supervisory communication skills. Supervisors should be consistent and prompt in documenting and addressing all employee behavior issues.
- Educate all employees annually. A yearly refresher on the importance of a drug-free workplace and the effect of drugs and other substances on safety and health is an important component of the drug-free workplace program.
- Implement a health and safety committee in the workplace. Use front-line employees to help promote your program internally. Periodic campaigns such as National Drug-Free Work Week observed in October, National Safety Month in June, or safety and health fair promotions help to get the word out and go a long way to getting your message across. Peer-to-peer influence is powerful!
- Offer an employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP is a company benefit that allows employees to seek professional assistance with substance abuse and/or other personal problems. It can also be utilized a referral measure in your company’s disciplinary protocol.
- Offer medical coverage that includes affordable mental health and substance abuse treatment.
The cliché, “talk the talk and walk the walk” is an apt description of the roll the employers play in encouraging employees to adopt healthy lifestyles, including reducing stress, getting health check-ups, quitting smoking, increasing exercise, healthy eating, and much more. Employers have a tremendous capacity to positively influence their employees' lifestyles, both at-work and off-work. Healthy employees at all levels are a win-win for all workplace stakeholders.