The new Federal Drug Free Workplace Online Supervisor Training Course is now available! This training can also be found at our training section, along with other trainings as they become available. This course was designed to provide information to federal agency supervisors on the goals of the DFWP; the supervisors’ role related to the DFWP; recognizing workplace problems relating to illicit drug use; understanding drug testing and the drug testing program and process; implementing appropriate protocols to address illicit drug-related workplace issues; and supporting federal employees in need of DFWP assistance.
Why a Drug-Free Workplace?
If you have legal requirements for a drug-free workplace policy and program and comply with those requirements, you will reduce the chances that your organization will experience legal issues. First, you will be meeting the requirements of the law. Second, you will be able to reduce drug-related accidents and the liability issues and lawsuits that can arise from such accidents.
In addition to meeting the legal requirements, consider putting in place a drug-free workplace policy and program that addresses the specific issues and needs in your workplace. Issues and needs can be identified by assessing your workplace. This approach increases the likelihood that you will achieve positive results in the form of reduced drug use and related problems.
Components of a Drug-Free Workplace
Drug-free workplace programs can help employers create safe, cost-effective, and healthy workplaces. Most successful drug-free workplace programs have five key components:
- A written policy forms the foundation of your drug-free workplace program. At minimum, your policy should include the rationale for the policy, such as organizational goals and compliance with laws or regulations; expectations for compliance, including who, what, when, and where; assistance options to support employees in following the policy; and consequences for violating the policy.
- Employee Education for employees at all levels to be prepared for the implementation of the drug-free workplace policy and program. Everyone in the organization needs information about the problems associated with substance misuse. Be sure to provide education and training that reinforces healthy attitudes and behaviors and deepens awareness on how substance misuse can affect employee health and employment.
- Supervisor Training can help maximize the effectiveness of your drug-free workplace policy and program. Supervisors should be well-informed about the policy and program and be aware of legally sensitive areas. They must also be trained on how to document potential problems in a fair and systematic manner, honor confidentiality, and refer employees to appropriate services. Supervisors may also need training on how to help employees reintegrate into the workplace after receiving services.
- Drug Testing is one way to protect your workplace from the negative effects of substance misuse. Conducting drug testing may help your organization comply with federal regulations or insurance carrier requirements. It can improve workplace safety and reduce costs from misuse of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. A drug-testing program can also deter employees from coming to work unfit for duty.
- Employee Assistance Programs
The Drug-Free Workplace Toolkit supports workplace health and safety by providing information to help employers develop and sustain successful drug-free workplace programs.
These policies and programs may include preventing the misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, addressing substance misuse within the context of workplace health and wellness programs, and providing intervention services for employees and for their families. Workplace Prevention Basics provides an interactive guide to identify and prevent substance misuse in the workplace.
Using the Toolkit:
- Build a team to develop your drug-free policy and implement your program
- Assess your workplace to determine what kind of program is appropriate for your circumstances
- Understand the challenges associated with qualitative and quantitative approaches
- Develop a drug-free policy
- Plan and implement your program
- Prepare Your Workplace
- Provide Education and Training
- Provide Supervisor Training
- Evaluate your program to assess how well it meets its objectives
- Provide support for employees
EAPs are designed to help employees with personal problems that may affect their job performance. Although some EAPs focus on problems related to alcohol and other drugs, most address a range of issues and can provide a variety of services. The International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) has developed certification procedures for EAP providers.
Learn more about providing support with an EAP and get the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Prescription Drug Toolkit and Fact Sheets.
If you are considering adopting a drug-free workplace policy or drug-free workplace program, you may have many questions and concerns. You might ask:
- Is this something I really have to do?
- What, exactly, is being required of me?
- Will it be expensive?
- Will it make my employees angry or resentful?
- Can I get into trouble if I do something wrong?
- How do I avoid getting sued?
These are all legitimate concerns. Organizations failing to comply with federal, state, and local requirements for a drug-free workplace can face severe penalties and may even face lawsuits filed by workers. Read more:
- Federal Laws and Regulations
- Federal Contractors, Grantees, and Federally Regulated Industries
- Considerations for Safety and Security-Sensitive Industries
- State and Local Laws and Regulations
The best way to avoid legal problems is to hire an employment lawyer to help develop the workplace policy. This will help ensure that the new policy is consistent with all of the required rules and regulations. For an overview of best practices for complying with legal requirements, review 10 Steps for Avoiding Legal Problems.
But it is also important for employers and their employees to understand their own legal rights and obligations. Otherwise, employers may make serious and costly legal mistakes in the way that they implement policies. As a result, employees may feel wronged, persecuted, or deprived of personal power.
- Current HHS Certified Laboratory Lists
- Electronic Custody and Control Approved Laboratory List
- Drug-Free Workplace Staff Publications (XLSX | 36 KB)
- SAMHSA Fact Sheets on Preventing Prescription Abuse in the Workplace (RTI)
- A Workplace Wellness Approach for Prescription Misuse Prevention Webinar (1 hour)
- National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association (NDASA)
- Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPPA)