Substance abuse work in the workplace

Substance abuse is a major health, social and economic problem that causes various problems in working life, such as accidents, illnesses, increased absence from work and reduced work efficiency.

Substance abuse programme

The substance abuse programme is part of the operations that promote the workplace's working capacity. Its purpose is to promote health and the ability to work, particularly by affecting the lifestyle related to substance abuse. The substance abuse programme creates certain rules of conduct and supports substance abuse discussion in the workplace. When handling substance abuse issues in the workplace, preventive action and intervening in substance abuse as early as possible is particularly important.

Issues related to the workplace substance abuse programme and policies related to referral to treatment and other matters related to substance abuse are handled in the cooperation on occupational safety between the employer's and the employees' representatives. Occupational health care acts as an independent and impartial expert on substance abuse issues.

Getting substance abuse problems under control

Central labour market organizations have compiled the “Päihdehaitat hallintaan!” (“Getting substance abuse problems under control”) recommendation on the prevention of substance abuse problems, the handling of substance abuse issues and referral to treatment in the workplace.

Drug testing

The Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life regulates the drug testing of employees and related procedures. According to the act, testing can be carried out if the employee does work that requires precision, reliability, independent judgement or quick reactions.

Testing requires the workplace to have a substance abuse programme as defined in the Occupational Health Care Act. The workplace substance abuse programme should describe the procedures for drug testing, who is responsible for the practical measures, to whom the test results are delivered to, and what to do when the drug test of a job applicant or employee is positive.

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