Why should you have an alcohol and drug policy at your organisation?
One reason why you should have an alcohol and drug policy at your organization is because it is your duty to have one if you have employees. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – section 2 requires an employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees while at work. If having an alcohol and drug policy can help you ensure their health and safety and you have not instituted one, then you are breaking the law and putting the lives of your employees at risk. There are other legislations that surround health and safety in the workplace which could apply to the use of such a policy. You need to look after your employees. It falls under your duty of care.
Another reason is that lack of a policy will cost you. Employees that go to work under the influence can damage equipment, hurt their colleagues or relate with your customers in a way that will cause them to be displeased with your organisation. This might mean that you end up losing their patronage.
Whichever way it goes, you end up losing money and your reputation might even get damaged. Worse still, they might cause an accident that could result in a loss of lives.
How can you create an alcohol and drug policy for your organisation?
The type and content of your alcohol and drug policy depends on the size, nature and culture of your organisation among other things. It does not have to be a long, elaborate document, it can very well be a simple document. However, the policy should at least do three things. It should:
- explain why the organisation created the policy
- explain in clear terms what exactly is expected of the employees of the organisation
- state what the consequences would be for any violation of the policy
How can you enforce the policy?
To enforce the policy, you first need to ensure all your employees are fully educated about it. It is not just enough to hand over the document to them. Explain to them what the policy means and the consequences of any violations. You should educate them on how drug and alcohol intake can affect their productivity which in turn affects the productivity of your business. You should also educate them on how and where they can get help for any addiction problems.
Some organisations employ the use of drug and alcohol testing for their employees. If you decide to use drug and alcohol testing, you should mention it in your policy and you should ensure that it is carried out in a fair and legal way.
Will your employees be okay with the policy?
They should be okay with the policy as it is designed to ensure their own health and safety while working for you. You may need to educate them to help them see that the policy is not an attack on them or their personality or an accusation, but just a way to ensure the growth of the organisation. The growth of the organisation is in their favour because as an organisation grows, so will they under normal circumstances. Thus, the policy holds benefits for them.