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Ten do's and don'ts of drug testing in the workplace

by , 15 July 2013
Former world champion Tyson Gay and Jamaica's former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell have failed drug tests. According to BBCSport,Gay, the joint-second fastest man ever over 100m, was told by the US Anti-Doping Agency on Friday that his A sample from an out-of-competition test in May was positive. Meanwhile Powell, the all-time fourth quickest, tested positive for a banned stimulant at June's Jamaican Championships. While Gay is still waiting for the results of his B sample, Powell has reportedly said he would never take banned stimulants knowingly. If you think drug use is only prevalent in sport, you're wrong. No business, regardless of size or location, is immune to the countless problems that drug abuse can cause. If you decide to test your employees as well, here's what you should know.

Workplace substance abuse happens when employees use substances including alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, other illicit drugs, solvents and misuse of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, says the Health and Safety Advisor.

Abuse of these substances may lead to physical, psychological or social dependency or harm to the employee. Substance abuse can adversely affect performance or safety at work, directly through intoxication or hangover, or indirectly through social or health problems.

While the Occupational Health and safety Act (OHSA), allows you to create a drug-free workplace through drug testing, it's not a free for all, there are rules you should abide by.

Here's what you should and shouldn't do when creating a drug free workplace

#1: Do have a drug abuse and prevention policy in the workplace.

#2: Do not have drugs and alcohol available at the workplace.

#3: Do spot checks and searches in accordance with protocol to make sure employees are not carrying drugs or under the influence of drugs on site.

#4: Do not supply prescription or over-the-counter drugs in your first aid boxes. Your first aiders may not dispense medication anyway.

#5: Do provide ongoing training to all employees around substance abuse and the recognition o symptoms of drug abuse.

#6: Do not ignore an employee's problem with substance abuse.

#7: Do 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.

#8: Do have medical surveillance in place, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This surveillance must be relevant to the risk requirements of the job.

#9: Do appoint relevant people to deal with a drug abuser and consider implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on site.

#10: Do have clear guidelines in place to deal with a drug abuser and don't discriminate.

Turn to chapter D01 of your Health and Safety Advisor to get the do's and don'ts of drug testing



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