A work environment is considered toxic if it is ineffective as well as destructive to its employees. The term has come to prominence recently with media stories covering bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of manipulation used for personal gain in the workplace. Substance misuse should also be added to this list: drug and alcohol abuse can not only damage your business, it can be toxic. As well as causing accidents, a loss in productivity, absenteeism and days off ill, substance misuse can result in an intimidating work environment.

Here are three steps to help you eradicate drugs and alcohol from your organisation and build a culture of positive workplace behaviour.

1. Implement a clearly defined policy on substance abuse

A robust drug and alcohol testing policy effectively tells employees what is and isn’t permissible. The consequences of breaking the rules or failing a drugs test and/or alcohol test will be clearly stipulated. In this way, all members of staff know where they stand and it establishes a company ethos for everyone to adhere to. Make it known: inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated.

Your policy document should be comprehensive, specific and succinct. It needs to outline the objective of the policy, specify who it applies to, detail which substances it covers, and explain what happens if employees contravene the conditions of the policy

2. Set up a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing programme

Your workplace drug and alcohol policy should include full details of your company’s testing programme. Regular testing will not only increase productivity, decrease costs and maintain the reputation of the company, but it will also mean that your business is operating lawfully to ensure the safety of your employees and the general public under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (among others).

There are various types of testing services to suit all forms of business that can protect employees, as well as your company.

Random drug and alcohol testing
For cause drug and alcohol testing
Pre employment testing services
Post rehab and return to work testing

3. Maintain awareness with regular training

Keeping your employees up-to-date with the company’s drug and alcohol testing policy is important to maintain awareness and educate them of both the company’s obligations and their individual responsibilities concerning drugs and alcohol. Training can reduce any ambiguity about what is unacceptable and provide guidance on what action will be taken if someone is involved with, or accused of, drug or alcohol misuse within the workplace. This training can be customised for the industry sector and designed to be relevant for employees at all levels within the business.

By implementing these three key steps, systems will be put in place to help the people in need, whilst contributing to the development of a positive and successful workforce.

A more in-depth article on this subject can be found on our Learning Centre.

AlphaBiolabs can create a bespoke workplace drug and alcohol testing programme for your business and implement this policy for a fully managed solution. For information on any of our workplace testing services, call us on 0333 600 1300, email at, or visit our website at