Reasonable Suspicion Training: Creating a Safer Workplace

Reasonable suspicion training provides supervisors with the knowledge to maintain a safe, drug-free workplace.

Reasonable suspicion training provides managers and supervisors with the knowledge to maintain a safe, drug-free workplace. Learn how it can benefit your company.

Author: Joseph Christian

May 21, 2024

Managers and supervisors are an organization’s first line of defense in achieving a drug-free workplace that protects against the dangers of drug abuse.

But what if they are not correctly trained to spot the warning signs of drug use? What if they don’t know how to document suspicious activity correctly to protect your company from possible legal issues?

Considering a recent survey from the American Addiction Centers found over 22% of people admitted to using drugs or alcohol at work, it is paramount for organizations in safety-sensitive industries to ensure managers and supervisors are properly trained so they can effectively protect the safety of your workforce and company.

What is Reasonable Suspicion Training?

It is training provided to supervisors and managers to equip them with the knowledge to recognize, document, and properly react to the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol misuse among employees in safety-sensitive positions. The training helps to increase the effectiveness of drug testing programs by empowering informed decisions about whether employees should be referred for drug and alcohol testing. While required for transportation-related industries regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), reasonable suspicion training is recognized as a best practice for non-DOT consortiums and company policy programs.

The goal of reasonable suspicion training is to protect public and workplace safety by ensuring employees, whose behavior and appearance indicate possible illegal drug use or alcohol misuse, are removed from safety-sensitive duties.

Why You Need Reasonable Suspicion Training:

  • To educate supervisors, managers, and company leaders on the effects of drug abuse and alcohol misuse in the workplace.

  • Provide updated information on signs and symptoms of current drug trends.

  • As state laws are changing, reasonable suspicion remains one of the test types that can still be used to test when someone is believed to be “under the influence” while on the job.

  • Provides an objective process of determining when to refer an employee for drug or alcohol testing based on observable and documented signs.

  • Proactively identifying issues and addressing them helps to reduce the risk of accidents and absenteeism stemming from substance abuse.

What Effective Reasonable Suspicion Training Looks Like

While all reasonable suspicion training covers how to observe, document, and act on suspect behaviors, the first step for effective training starts with matching it with the policies and objectives of your company’s program and any regulatory compliance guidelines you may need to follow.

Ensure any definitions or processes in your policy are clear to your managers and supervisors and adequately covered in the training. Additionally, be careful about outdated training that does not cover the latest drug abuse trends and issues. It is important you work with a training partner who can educate your workforce on the latest trends related to your industry and location.

Beyond this, the nuts and bolts of reasonable suspicion training generally cover:

  • Observation and identification (Including attendance, habit, and personal indicators based on latest trends and real-life situations.)

  • Documentation (how to properly record suspicious activity to justify further action and protect from legal liability.)

  • How to empathetically confront the behavior and interview the employee

  • Authorizing and performing a reasonable suspicion test

  • Providing the employee with additional help and resources

reasonable suspicion training protects your workplace.

Benefits of Reasonable Suspicion Training

Every company has a responsibility to create a safe workplace. While drug abuse is a complicated issue – arming your supervisors with the knowledge to identify drug use is an important step to proactively protecting your employees. Reasonable suspicion training is not about punishing employees; it is about identifying a hazard and taking steps to address it to protect the health and well-being of others.

Illegal drug use is a constantly changing landscape, so your front-line supervisors and managers must know what these trends are and how to spot abuse. Considering the deadly potency of Fentanyl – this knowledge can save lives.

Benefits of reasonable suspicion training:

  • Better protect your workforce from addiction and injuries caused by drug abuse.

  • Creates safer work environments by showing your company’s commitment to a drug-free workplace.

  • Educates supervisors on how to deal with possible impairment from alcohol or drug use.

  • Helps front-line staff stay updated on trends with alcohol/drugs in the workplace that can cause danger to your workforce. (Like Fentanyl)

  • Effective training goes beyond the basics required to empower supervisors to take proactive actions to protect the health of their business.

ASAPcheck is Here to Help

Reasonable suspicion training is an important part of creating an effective drug and alcohol screening program because it ensures your managers and supervisors have the knowledge to proactively protect your workforce from the dangers of drug abuse.

If you need help with our reasonable suspicion training program or protocols, ASAPcheck is here to help.

  • Ensure your program goes beyond the minimum required by the DOT to provide your team with the knowledge to protect your workforce in a rapidly changing drug use and compliance landscape.

  • Prepare your team for real-world conditions with examples of paraphernalia used at job sites.

  • Provide training when and where you need it with computer-based training options.

  • Customize programs to accurately reflect your company’s policy, local conditions, and industry.