What is a workplace policy?

chain of custody,pre screening,screening testsThe term workplace policy is woven into workplace lexicon as a given. But what exactly is a workplace policy and how does your organisation develop one that suits your requirements regarding drug and alcohol monitoring and testing? CMM Technology considers the definition, scope and workings of a successful workplace policy and how this affects the running and structure of your organisation.


The NSW Industrial Relations Commission defines a workplace policy as a document “that reinforces and clarifies standard operating procedures in a workplace. Well written policies help employers manage staff more effectively by defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace and set out the implications of not complying with those policies.”[1]

It is important to qualify that not all workplace issues require workplace policy. However, the issue of AOD’s is one area where such a policy is both useful and pragmatic.

The Australian Human Rights Commission suggests that effective workplace policies involve a number of steps to maintain fairness, equity and objectivity:

  • Develop policy to provide information
  • Disseminate the policy and its information regularly
  • Make sure supervisors and managers meet face to face with employees when communicating the policy
  • Provide training/education for managers and supervisors so they can pinpoint unlawful or unacceptable breaches of the policy
  • Provide training/educations so that managers/supervisors are able to react appropriately in the event of a breach
  • Educate workers and peers about correct policy and practices
  • Provide management with interactive training that develops communication and interpersonal skills
  • Primary focus needs to be on direct, face to face communications where possible
  • Seek expert advice from specialists whenever needed
  • Seek expert advice from specialists outside organisation who can help you develop the most appropriate policy[2]

The added benefits of workplace policy

Distinct benefits arise from policy that is developed appropriately and clearly. These may include:

  • Augmentation of the organisations values
  • Augmentation of relevant legislation
  • Promotion of consistency and uniformity regarding operational procedures
  • Provides framework for business planning
  • Provides framework for accountability and responsibility
  • Covers against legal action

The outcome of successful policy

Successful policy also ensures successful outcomes in the following ways:

  • Reduces misunderstanding and confusion about drug and alcohol policy
  • Reduces the possibility of liability for the employer/organisation
  • Increases workplace harmony
  • Increases productivity

Policy Checklist

Lastly, the NSW Department of Industrial Relations also outlines a comprehensive policy checklist. Make sure your drug and alcohol policy covers the following:

  • Sets out the aim of the policy
  • Explains why it was developed
  • Lists the groups and individuals that are included within the scope of the policy
  • Clearly outlines unacceptable and acceptable behaviour
  • Sets out consequences for non-compliance
  • Provides date record of policy creation and updates.[3]

CMM Technology can help you with quality testing devices that form the foundation of your testing procedure. A good drug and alcohol policy must be clear, effective and easily communicated and understood by all members of the workplace. CMM Technology’s associated concern Mediscreen, may also be able to assist with policy ideas and development, particularly when onsite testing by an independent third party is the preferred mode of approach.[4]

And, if you require advice on testing technologies, please telephone the CMM Technology team who will be able to assist you with your enquiries and offer testing devices that most suit your organisations specific needs.

CMM Technology are available to speak with you on 618 9204 2500

[1]  http://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/Employers/Managing_staff/Workplace_policies_and_procedures.html

[2]  http://www.hreoc.gov.au/info_for_employers/policies/index.html

[3]  http://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/Employers/Managing_staff/Workplace_policies_and_procedures.html

[4]  http://mediscreen.net.au

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