In addition to the organizational benefits of developing and instituting a drug-free workplace program, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation “offers a premium discount to eligible employers for implementing a program addressing workplace use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drug abuse.” The Drug-Free Workplace Progarm (DFWP) is designed to help employers establish safer and more cost-effective workplaces. (Ohio BWC) A look at the BWC’s program requirements reveals some excellent steps that employers can take to develop their own Drug-Free Workplace programs and policies.
Written Substance Policy
According to the Ohio BWC, “A substance policy is a key element because it lays out all the ground rules and describes acceptable and unacceptable work behavior along with the consequences for violating the policy.” Your organization’s substance abuse policies should mirror the culture of your organization. Frequently reviewing and revising your employee handbook is important to keep up with industry standards.
Participation in the BWC’s DFWP requires you to offer each employee two hours of education initially within the first three months of initial program participation and two hours annually thereafter. It’s important to make sure employees are equipped with up-to-date information on your policies and on issues affecting your drug-free workplace. This information can either be presented by a qualified and licensed professional, or it is possible to acquire approved materials from the Ohio BWC and have a manager/trainer present this information to your employees.
All supervisors should be trained and have knowledge of your substance abuse policy. The Ohio BWC lists a few skills necessary for each supervisor to have, including:
- Behavioral observation
- Appropriate and professional confrontation
- How to make referrals for testing
- How to make referrals to assistance
Drug and Alcohol Testing
In compliance with the Ohio BWC’s guidelines, testing “focuses on who may have caused or contributed to a work-related accident where there is an injury requiring off-site medical attention or damage to company property or vehicles in apparent excess of an amount the employer specifies in its written policy.” Several organizations perform drug-screening services, including Acxiom, an ERC Dream Team member.
In terms of Employee Assistance Programs, educational and counseling services are designed to improve performance and reduce accidents to drive down Workers’ Comp and health insurance costs. “Problems in the workplace can often be prevented by timely and appropriate response to warning signs that an individual is under stress or having trouble handling personal problems.” (USDA.gov) There are also many organization that provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s), including ERC Dream Team member EASE@WORK.
For more information…
- For detailed information on creating a drug-free workplace, the ERC e-Learning Center features a 4-hour online course through which you’ll learn you’ll learn about the Drug-free Workplace Act, the criteria for developing a drug-free workplace program, and the measures that ensure program success.
- ERC will also be hosting a workshop on changes in Workers Compensation’ regulations on June 5 at the ERC Workplace Center. Click here for more information on Workers Compensation – Everything is Changing!
- And finally, the Ohio BWC has plenty of information on their site regarding the Drug-Free Workplace Program and how your organization can take positive steps towards a drug-free workplace. more…