Responses to questions: Vulcan Steel court case, 2021

A reader asked, in response to a prior newsletter email about the Vulcan Steel court case, regarding their drug testing policy:

How can a drug testing policy be both not specific enough, as well as being too prescriptive? It’s either one or the other!

We’re glad you asked.

A drug testing policy should be both specific and focused.

Specific means that it’s clear what we are going to do, and we state exactly that in the policy. No vague terms, no unclear directions, no ambiguous consequences.

An example of an unspecific policy (borrowing from last week):
Drug testing will utilise hair and/or urine and/or saliva test techniques, as outlined in the DASP.

An example of a specific policy:
Urine drug testing will utilised for pre-employment, random, and rehabilitation, and oral fluid drug testing for post-incident and reasonable cause drug testing.

Focused means that the policy strips out everything that’s irrelevant or unnecessary. The exact mechanics of our drug testing process is very interesting, but it’s not relevant or necessary for the policy. A (very) high level overview will serve fine.

An example of an unfocused policy:
Random drug testing will be drawn from a pool of employees on site. A number shall be assigned to each employee, and written down on a piece of paper. The pieces of paper will be put into a bag and shaken. 5 pieces of paper will be drawn out and the employees those numbers correspond with will be drug tested. The drawing will be done in the presence of a union representative.

An example of a focused policy:
Employees shall be selected randomly for random drug testing.

This is fairly easy to achieve if you separate your drug testing policy from your procedures, instead of combining the two.

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