A technically correct Policy & Procedure is the basis of any successful Drug and Alcohol Management Program (DAMP).
It should comprise a range of strategies including education / awareness training, employee assistance programs, alcohol and other drug testing and procedures for breach of Policy or Procedure.
Failure to develop a technically correct Policy and Procedure and subsequent failure to adhere to it will invariably cause major issues!!!
- Whilst a one or two page Policy is ideal, a similar sized Procedure will not address all required components.
- The Policy and Procedure must be practical and workable in a real environment.
- This is often an issue when such documents are prepared by lawyers or persons inexperienced with a DAMP.
- A “patchwork” Policy & Procedure made up of several templates from the internet will rarely be workable in your specific workplace.
- Does the Policy or Procedure refer to correct Australian Standards, WHS Laws or other Legislation relevant to your industry?
- Is there a clear and defined alcohol and other drug testing procedure in place?
- Are there ambiguities or “grey areas” regarding what constitutes a breach of policy?
- Has your Policy & Procedure been implemented correctly?
- Staff should sign off and acknowledge the Policy & Procedure before you can enforce it.
So, what are 5 common mistakes in Alcohol and other Drug Policies & Procedures?
1 Use of terms such as “under the influence” or “impairment”. These issues are very difficult, if not impossible, to prove and should not determine a breach of policy or even a general approach to conforming.
2 Failure to adequately define terms used in the Procedure. Absence of a “definitions” section results in ambiguity which leads to “loopholes”.
3 Inconsistency. For example, combining urine and saliva testing in the same procedure when one tests for recent exposure the other tests for historical use.
4 Failure to document the actual testing procedure. For example all testing to be conducted with a nominated independent testing agency with procedures compliant to Australian Standards.
5 Omitting guidelines to manage either prescribed or over the counter medication. These can be managed effectively and satisfactorily with guidelines making up a few paragraphs.
Case Study – Perkins Vs Golden Plains Fodder – South Australia
An employee was dismissed from employment for refusing to submit to a request for a drug test. The matter was referred to the Commissioner who found in favour of the employee.
Employer mistakes included:
- Policy and Procedure inconsistent and unclear.
- Rationale referred to impairment rather than fitness for work.
- Compliance with the Policy and Procedure extended to the conduct of the employees private life which was determined to be “harsh and unreasonable” (Urine testing).
- The type of testing to be conducted was not defined in the Policy or Procedure.
- The Drug & Alcohol Policy was “not even understood by its authors who had attempted to elevate it to a purpose it was never able to or intended to achieve”.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”Winston Churchill
Sometimes when you need a drug test you don’t get much warning. It may be for a new job, a promotion or for a number of other reasons. The good news is, if you are located in Hobart, Tasmania we are able to facilitate same day appointments Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm. Every…Read More
“This property is protected by guard dog four nights a week, you guess which four!” As with the above phrase, a successful deterrent effect is the key outcome for any random Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) testing program. A random testing program will only create the required deterrent when done correctly. Plus, it involves much…Read More
“Awareness – you don’t know… what you didn’t know … until you know you didn’t know!” Whether we like it or not, misuse of alcohol, illegal drugs and medications are rife in society, and the workplace. Greater than 20% of Australians drink alcohol at levels deemed risky to high risk of harm.1 6.6% of Australians…Read More
Key Points:• 6 people arrested• Police raid properties across Tasmania and Queensland• More than $4 million in cocaine and methamphetamine seized• Largest illicit drug investigation Tasmania police have conducted Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said the drug investigation had been “significantly complex” and was believed to be the largest illicit drug investigation police had conducted in…Read More
“A successful Drug and Alcohol Management Program (DAMP) will incorporate regular random testing, ideally resulting in zero positive test results.” Colin Thomas, Relevant Drug Testing Solutions There is a common misconception in workplaces that if you are not detecting alcohol or illegal drugs among your personnel, you no longer need to conduct random testing, or…Read More
In a recent blog post we covered random drug and alcohol testing in the workplace and how to create an effective deterrent effect. So to follow on from this we are going to cover how to ensure best practice in your random testing program. 1Appoint a quality accredited independent drug and alcohol testing provider to…Read More
Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in Australia account for more than 4,186 deaths per annum and have a combined economic loss of $23.5 billion to the community.1 And with the release of a new report from Surf Life Saving Australia2, it is evident alcohol and other drugs also play a major factor in coastal deaths…Read More
Recently in the blog we discussed why education & awareness training is essential for a successful Drug and Alcohol Management Program (DAMP). Following up from this, today we are covering some things that should be covered in such training. 1What is a drug and alcohol management program (DAMP)? 2Why is there a need for implementation…Read More
Please note our Head Office and Breathalyser Calibration Centre will be closed from 22 December 2021 – 4 January 2022. To avoid delays, please send devices for calibration well before these dates. Our Accredited Technicians will still be conducting alcohol and other drug testing during this period and our 24/7 Callout and Advice service will…Read More
We have seen Tasmania Police’s specialist officers excel recently at newsworthy drug busts, like our report earlier this year where Millions of dollars in cash and drugs uncovered by Tasmania Police and this recent event is no different. On Friday 1 October, 2021 after two raids on properties in the Hobart suburb of Glenorchy Police…Read More