Workplace policies build a solid foundation that support safety and wellbeing, assure equitable accommodations for all workers and establish a plan for how your organization will address issues when they arise. We are starting with some key policies related to substance use and mental health: Opioid Overdose Response, Fair Chance, Flexible Work and Drug Testing. Download and customize these policy templates for your organization. 

Rolling out new policies can be met with many different responses; some people might welcome the change while others may not. Things to keep in mind: 

● Internal buy-in: work with leadership, cross-organizational representatives, union leaders, subject matter experts, HR staff, EHS staff and others
● Develop and implement a plan for changing, updating and/or adding your new policy

— Communicate the need for the policy change or the new policy across your organization
— Provide opportunities to answer questions or get feedback
— Check in with workers about how the policy change is going for them

● Revise the policy as necessary to meet your organization’s needs
● Maintain the policy alongside your organization’s other policies
● Review policies regularly to assure they meet the evolving needs of your organization
● Work with legal counsel to ensure all policies are equitable and abide by local, state and federal laws

Opioid Overdose Policy

NSC encourages every workplace to supply naloxone (Narcan) to mitigate the risk of opioid overdose. If choosing to supply naloxone, employers need to have a related policy. While planning for a new policy, make sure to conduct a risk assessment and review legal considerations related to naloxone adoption. Please reference this state-by-state report and the accompanying one-pager to determine how to best prepare your workplace.

For more information on OSHA reporting and recordability requirements related to overdose, review this fact sheet.

Your workplace opioid overdose policies and programs may not all look the same, but they should all include some key components, including the policy's purpose. If you already have an emergency preparedness or first aid policy, you could add opioid overdose preparedness to it. Elements to outline in your policy include: 

Naloxone storage and maintenance

● Required doses of naloxone (at least two per kit, number of kits depend on risk assessment)
● Overdose kit components, like PPE
● Storage locations and temperature requirements (keep it accessible, like in an AED cabinet or first aid kit)


● Overdose and naloxone training content requirements 
● Worker populations required to be trained
● Training frequency
● Supplementary education on opioids and substance use

Workplace procedures

● Overdose response procedures
● Record management 
● Staff roles (purchasing, training, first response, recordkeeping, employee recovery) and responsibilities
● Opioid overdose program maintenance 
● Communication of policy components 

Workplace supports and benefits to prevent or address substance misuse 

● EAPs
● Benefits
● Workplace recovery policies

If you’re just beginning the process of starting an opioid overdose response program in your workplace, use this buy-in memo template to solicit internal interest and gain traction.

Templates to Help You Create Your Policy

Fair Chance Policy

Fair or second chance policies or agreements provide workers the opportunity to be hired, maintain employment or return to employment after testing positive for drugs or alcohol, self-disclosing the need for treatment or being recommended for treatment following evaluation by a qualified specialist. Explore the below policy samples and resources to create or implement your own policy.

Hamilton County Health Department sample policy and agreement
● Appendix 7 from the Recovery Ready Toolkit
● Hamilton County Health Department return to work sample agreement
● Workflow diagram from Recovery Ready Toolkit

Explore More About Fair Chance and the Workplace

Business Case for Fair Chance Employment
Second Chance Business Coalition

Use This Template

Flexible Work Policy

Flexible work policies or agreements provide the best possible work schedule to meet worker and workplace needs. This may include flexible paid time off, flex time, alternative scheduling, compressed scheduling, hybrid work options, remote work options, job sharing, split shift and more.

“When asked to select from a list of a dozen possible supports they would like to see employers offer, flexible work hours was the most commonly chosen support (41%), followed by a workplace culture that respects time off (34%), the ability to work remotely (33%) and a four-day work week (31%).”

American Psychological Association Survey

Use This Template

Drug Testing Policy

The ability to test for underlying causes of impairment or identify whether a person is impaired is a controversial topic. Some experts advocate for eliminating drug testing, others advocate for assuring drug testing is equitable, while others focus on assuring drug testing policies are developed through the lens of recovery supportive workplaces. Some state and federal laws require drug testing or drug free workplace policies. We will provide additional resources and policies related to drug testing soon.

Use This Template

The links provided throughout the Hub are for informational purposes and to supplement the information we have provided. Links not affiliated with NSC do not constitute an endorsement or an approval of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. NSC bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

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