Policy & Procedure Development

A technically correct Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) Policy & Procedure (occasionally referred to as a Fit for Work Policy) is the foundation of any successful Drug Testing Program and Drug & Alcohol Management Program (DAMP).

A successful DAMP requires strategic implementation into your workplace to ensure it is firmly ingrained in the culture rather than becoming a procedure which is implemented but then quickly forgotten.

An Alcohol and Drug Policy & Procedure should be comprised of a range of strategies including employee Education & Awareness (E&A) training, manager / supervisor training, documented processes for breaches of the Alcohol & Other Drugs Policy or Procedure, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and AOD testing.

Some common mistakes we often see in alcohol and other drug policies and procedures

Terminology

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.

Definitions

Failure to adequately define terms used in the Procedure. Absence of a “definitions” section results in ambiguity which may lead to “loopholes”.

Testing

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".

Medication

Omitting guidelines to manage either prescribed or over the counter medication. These can be managed effectively in the Drug and Alcohol Procedure with guidelines making up a few paragraphs.

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Things to consider when implementing or updating your alcohol and other drugs policy and procedure.

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 & 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.

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 employee’s 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”.

Need Some Help On Your Policy?

Our expert team have reviewed and written hundreds of AOD Policies and Procedures. We can complete a full review of your current documentation or if required a completely new Policy & Procedure.

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