Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Components of a Drug-free Workplace

Drug-free workplace programs can help employers create cost-effective, safe, and healthy workplaces. Early studies have indicated that successful drug-free workplace programs generally have at least five key components: (Donna M. Bush and J.H. Autry III. 2002. “Substance Abuse in the Workplace: Epidemiology, Effects, and Industry.” Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews 17:13–25)
1.       A written policy
2.       Employee education
3.       Supervisor training
4.       An employee assistance program (EAP)
5.       Drug testing

There are other types of drug-free workplace programs that include these components along with others in their design. Variations consist of using health and wellness programs (including alcohol and prescription drugs as a major prevention and early intervention component) and providing ongoing interactive Web sites (e.g., GetFit in the online Drug-Free Workplace Kit) for employee, supervisor, and provider education and training.

Successful drug-free workplace programs, in addition to having the five key components listed above, often provide access to diversified Employee Assistance Programs. Employee assistance programs are programs, sponsored by the organization, that help employees by identifying and addressing a broad spectrum of health, economic, and social issues, including substance abuse and mental health that affect job performance. An EAP can enhance the work climate of an organization and promote the health and well­being of everyone involved. Contracting with an EAP has been found to be a cost-effective approach to providing assistance to employees. There are also free and low-cost ways to provide assistance. To cut costs, some employers use SAMHSA’s helpline (1.800.WORKPLACE), partner with other organizations, or rely on community-based, drug-free coalitions.

Before considering the five components, employers should examine the needs of their organizations and take steps to ensure that the programs they design will work well in their workplaces. There are numerous reasons why employers establish drug-free workplace programs. Among the leading reasons are:
                     To comply with laws or regulations
                     To qualify for insurance discounts, rebates, and other incentives
                     To prevent associated problems (e.g., absenteeism, accidents, injuries, productivity loss)
                     To respond to an incident or pattern of substance abuse
                     To express support for the majority of employees who do not abuse alcohol or other drugs
                     To invest in worker health, safety, and productivity
                     To market drug-free workers and services

A needs assessment can determine whether alcohol or other drugs are affecting the workplace, can identify resources and strengths, can examine appropriate policy and program options, and can help illuminate cost-effective strategies for achieving organizational goals.

The Collaboration between SEIDA, Southeast Iowa Occupational Health Services and Van Buren County SAFE Coalition would like to encourage all Van Buren County residents, workers and businesses to find out the facts about Drug-Free Workplaces and be informed.  If you are interested in implementing a Drug-Free Workplace Policy at your business please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

No comments: