Keeping your workplace safe and drug-free has always ranked as a high priority for Denver employers, but now, that goal may feel compromised by the legalization of marijuana in recent years. However, there are still a few ways to ensure your workplace remains a safe haven.
Any Denver employee can now use marijuana legally, but just like alcohol, its legalization doesn’t signal it is completely safe to use, especially if your workplace utilizes heavy machinery. Still, there are other substances that should be on your radar, as well, and because of this, it’s important to utilize drug testing measures that can identify those substances.
Maintaining safety protocols at your business is crucial, and there are several key strategies that can help keep every Denver employee safe at work and ensure your business remains accident-free.
Educate Your Employees
Having an open conversation with your employees is the first step towards encouraging safety in the workplace. It is important for everyone to be on the same page and understand why rules and policies are in place.
Marijuana, while legal, can still be dangerous when used incorrectly. Short-term effects include impaired senses, hallucinations, and poor memory[SM1] , which can all lead to work-related injuries. Talk to your employees about the dangers of working on the job while impaired, and educate them on the hazardous effects of marijuana use.
Work training toolkits are a great resource for educating employees on the dangers of drug use. These trainings can reduce the chances of employees falling victim to drug abuse because of empowerment through knowledge and a developed sense of community.
Establish Your Own Protocols
As a business owner, it is perfectly acceptable to establish your own set of rules, especially if marijuana use could result in a serious workplace accident—as is also possible with the consumption of alcohol.
After educating your employees on the dangers of drug use, speak to them about the high expectations you have for them while on the job.
The protocols you implement should be based on your industry standards and expectations. Jobs that involve the use of heavy machinery and lots of physical tasks should hold a drug-free environment as a top priority, due to the nature of the risks involved with drug impairment. For companies with minimal physical labor, you may have the luxury of being a little more relaxed on drug use or may want to implement a zero-tolerance policy to promote better numbers and synergy.
Heed the Warning Signs
Drug abuse can stem from nearly any stressor—it can begin in the form of alcoholism, an abused prescription, or a last resort for an employee struggling with personal problems at home. Because of the wide range of stimuli that can induce drug use, it’s important to keep a close eye out for warning signs.
Is an employee going through a stressful situation at home? Have they recently been prescribed pain meds for a surgery or injury? Have they been acting odd or out of character? As a mindful employer, these are all questions you should ask yourself. The key is to address these issues before they take hold and sprout a drug-related dependency.
Try and help your employee find a solution absent of drugs. Guiding your employees towards the help, support, and treatment they need is the sign of a diligent employer who prioritizes his or her employees over bottom line figures.
Alan Kohll, president and founder of TotalWellness, says, “In the past few years, I have seen more companies changing attitudes about how they approach mental health at work. Employers are encouraging mental health with counselors, mindfulness training, meditation sessions, and campaigns designed to reduce stigma.”
Meredith Arthur, founder of Beautiful Voyager, agrees, saying, “As employers grapple with mental health issues in the workplace, we’re going to see a new crop of mental health training programs explore what a healthy workplace looks like, physically and mentally.”
Recognize the Signs of Drug Abuse
There are many signs of drug abuse to be aware of. They include, but are not limited to:
- Showing up to work late
- Missing work
- Showing up to work with bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Acting irrationally
- Impaired senses
- Alienation among employees
- Withdrawal from coworkers
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you should speak to your employee immediately. If they admit to drug use, talk to them about the options available, including support groups, therapy, rehab, and recovery centers.
Commit to Random Drug Screening
Establishing a random drug screening protocol is a common form of drug prevention in the workplace, since the typical Denver employee doesn’t want to run the risk of getting caught with drugs and losing their job. By carrying out random drug screening, you are showing your employees you are truly committed to a safe, drug-free workplace, and this will prevent your employees from feeling personally targeted.
When it comes to random drug screening, there are two ways to go about it. The first is the traditional route of hiring a local agency to perform the drug screenings. However, this often requires your employees to make an off-site visit during business hours and can be awkward and inconvenient. There are also in-house drug testing kits available[SM2] . Today, personal use drug kits are incredibly accurate and also offer the convenience and discretion you want as an employer.
Remain Actively Involved
Everyone knows a good employer is one who works with their employees, rather than someone who expects their employees to simply work under them.
So, work alongside your employees, and always keep compassion at the forefront. Maintaining your employees’ trust so they won’t feel averse to talking with you about serious issues is crucial and can work to your advantage while trying to maintain a drug-free workplace.
As you navigate your way through the planning stages of workplace safety protocols, always keep each individual Denver employee in mind and prioritize their wellbeing. Remember, legal progressions concerning marijuana have made the drug available for recreational use, but just like alcohol, people sometimes fail to use it responsibly. Because of this, it’s important to establish your own customized drug use protocols to keep your workplace safe and drug-free.