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Revealed: The dos and don'ts of drug testing in the workplace

by , 16 January 2014
Conducting drug tests in the workplace isn't straightforward. You need to play by the rules. Read on to find out what the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) says you must and mustn't do when conducting drug tests in the workplace.

A dark cloud is hanging over Kaizer Chiefs player, Josta Dladla.

He tested positive for a banned stimulant (methylexaneamine) late last year. And now the midfielder faces a lengthy ban from soccer.

If you think drug abuse is only prevalent in sport, you're wrong. Your business isn't immune to it and the countless problems it can cause.

The good news is drug testing can help you curb drug abuse in the workplace.

But, before you test your employees, make sure you know what's allowed and what isn't.

Here are the dos and don'ts of drug testing in the workplace

Dos:
  • Have a drug abuse and prevention policy in the workplace.
  • Do spot checks and searches in to ensure employees aren't carrying drugs or under the influence of drugs on site.
  • Include Supervisors, Health and Safety Reps as well as union members in awareness training to monitor employees for signs of drug abuse and to report this in the correct manner, says the Health & Safety Advisor.
  • Have medical surveillance in place. in accordance with the OHSA. This surveillance must be relevant to the risk requirements of the job.
  • Appoint relevant people to deal with a drug abuser and consider implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on site.
  • Have clear guidelines in place to deal with a drug abuser and don't discriminate.
  • Provide ongoing training to all employees around substance abuse and the recognition of symptoms of drug abuse.


So what isn't allowed when it comes to drug testing?

Don't do the following things:

Don'ts:

  • Don't have drugs and alcohol available at the workplace.
  • Don't supply prescription or over-the-counter drugs in your first aid boxes.
  • Do not ignore an employee's problem with substance abuse.


Knowing what to do and what not to do when testing employees for drugs will help ensure you comply with the OHSA.

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