Key Elements of Successful Drug Policies for Manufacturing Workers
When an employee is injured on the job, there can be long-term implications for both the worker and the company. When employees are prescribed painkillers and other drugs as part of their recovery, they may be more likely to misuse or abuse drugs than if they were never injured.
To combat the risk of on-the-job or post-injury drug abuse, a strong drug policy is key. OSHA recommends considering the following when developing a drug policy for your organization:
Clear goals: The foundation of any drug policy program should start with a clear description of the purpose of the policy. Include an overview of what behaviors/substances are prohibited in the workplace and detailed consequences should employees violate the policy.
Supervisor training: Manufacturers should train supervisors to on the drug policy and its implications, how to manage employees with performance problems related to substance abuse, and assistance options for employees dealing with addiction issues.
Employee education: Once supervisors and management are on board, teach employees about the policy, its benefits, and the consequences of breaking the guidelines.
Workplace assistance: Provide assistance to employees who need support. OSHA recommends Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) as the most effective way to address poor job performance that may stem from substance abuse. These programs also offer counseling and other educational services that employees with drug addiction can utilize.
Drug testing: While drug testing isn’t required of companies with drug policies, a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found workers’ compensation incidence rates decreased by approximately 50 percent after companies introduced drug testing programs.
Given the high stress and risk involved in manufacturing facilities, employers must work together with supervisors and staff to create a fair drug policy that is well-suited to the individual challenges of the industry. OSHA advises that a good program isn’t created overnight – it requires careful planning and much consideration.
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