Workplace drug and alcohol testing is no longer an uncommon occurrence. Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policies are not mandatory across all industries, however, more businesses are becoming proactive, protecting their employees and their business by adopting drug and alcohol testing within their workplace. The variants of drug and alcohol testing include Random Drug Testing, Pre-Employment Drug Testing, Reasonable Cause Drug Testing, Post-Incident Drug Testing, Return to Work Drug Testing, and Pre-Promotion Drug Testing.
Here are some advantages for businesses to have their own Drug and Alcohol Policy and adopt workplace drug and alcohol testing.
Employees have the right to a safe workplace. When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol they are more likely to cause an accident. This is the same reason why we have actual laws preventing us from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Simply, it is a dangerous practice to mix an intoxicated person with machinery, tools, heights, surgery, transportation, or anything else they may accidentally cause harm to themselves or to a colleague.
Drug and alcohol use impairs the person’s ability to function in their everyday life. Drugs, in particular, have a long lasting effect that could lapse into working hours. Drug testing programs can help identify potential risks and help eliminate them. A drug and alcohol free workplace helps maintain a safe workspace and protects your employees.
Increased Productivity & Quality
When recruiting a new employee you look for skills and knowledge that an individual may possess to fit the position available. Or at least someone who is keen and willing to learn new skills. As part of finding the right person for the position, you can also ensure that they are not affected by substance abuse by adopting a workplace drug testing policy. A workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy can eliminate the potential risk of hiring someone with a substance abuse problem.
Those that do not have a substance abuse problem are generally more productive and produce a higher quality of work. By having a drug testing program you can eliminate those that do have a substance abuse problem and therefore are being less productive. Plus you have the added benefit of a safe workplace which, in general, increases morale amongst the other employees.
Substance abusers are ⅓ less productive in the workplace. Productivity is paramount to the success of any business. If you increase efficiency, then you are more likely to meet business goals and maintain a high level of development. Drug and alcohol users slow down productivity, perform their duties with less efficiency, and disrupt employee morale.
Reduce Health Insurance Costs
Those employees with a substance abuse problem are generally more susceptible to health issues (usually related to workplace accidents). The more claims that are made the higher your premiums are. By minimizing the number of claims you are then reducing the cost of your insurance. Drug and alcohol testing can help identify drug abusers within the workplace and enable Employers to take appropriate action.
Reduced Staff Turnover & Recruitment Costs
On average, people with a substance abuse problem will change jobs at least three times within one year. It costs the company time and money to train any new employee. If you accidentally hired a new employee with a substance abuse problem you’ll have to invest more time and money on finding a replacement once they leave. By drug screening new employees you will decrease your staff turnover rate.
Also, when hiring a new employee with a drug or alcohol abuse problem, you run the risk of driving your established employees away. Skilled and productive workers are always in demand. If your work environment has low morale and is generally unpleasant to work in, due to drug or alcohol abuse, why would your productive workers want to stay?
The cost of hiring, firing, and training are expensive. It costs, on average, $7,000 to replace a salaried employee. By establishing a Drug and Alcohol Policy within your business you are creating an environment where your employees are happy and have no need to leave. This will keep recruiting and training times and costs down to a minimum.
Reduced Staff Absenteeism
Workplace drug and alcohol testing programs are proven to successfully reduce absenteeism within the workplace. Drug or alcohol related absenteeism and sick leave is costly to a business. A substance abuser is 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days in a year. There is an obvious financial burden, but there is a loss of employee morale, which can often be more devastating to the work environment.
Reduced Work Related Accidents
In today’s work environment, Workplace Health and Safety is a major part of any business. These Policies are set up to protect your employee when performing their duties. Some Workplace Health and Safety practices may include wearing high visibility shirts, steel-capped boots, or hard hats. But even with these Policies in place, workplace accidents still occur.
It is illegal to drive whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol to not only protect the driver but also everyone else around them. Workplace accidents are more likely to occur if drug and alcohol abuse is left unchecked. If your business has a Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy and performs workplace drug testing, then you will reduce the amount of drug and alcohol related accidents.
At the time of an accident, a post-accident drug and alcohol test should be immediately performed. If the test is positive and has been verified by a certified laboratory, as the Business Owner, you can take immediate action. Also, employees who test positive for drugs or alcohol after an accident may not be able to claim for worker’s compensation.
Reduced Workplace Conflicts
It is common for habitual drug and alcohol users to be easily agitated, experience irrational behaviour, and suffer from extreme mood swings. This can lead to conflict within the workplace as well as low morale. By having a Drug and Alcohol Policy at your business you are creating a safe and harmonious work environment for your employees. You will identify any issue and be proactive in the steps you take to resolve the situation.
Fewer Thefts & Claims
As part of the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, the user requires more money to feed their habit. It’s not uncommon that this criminal behaviour is brought to your business by an employee with a substance abuse problem. Theft from co-workers, theft of office supplies and products, or even fraud are common crimes that substance abusers may commit when trying to find money to pay for their drugs or alcohol.
Performing regular drug and alcohol tests may act as a deterrent and protect your business. If a substance abuser has been identified then you can be proactive in your next steps in preventing any theft or fraud that may occur.
Protect the Reputation of Your Business
By adopting a Drug and Alcohol Policy in your business you are creating an environment that is proactive in nature. Here are a list of the potential benefits for drug testing in your business:
- Employees see your business as a safe and productive workplace.
- Your employees will never be interacting with customers whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Creates a healthier work environment.
- Deters workers from using or abusing drugs and alcohol.
- Elevates your business’s reputation in the eyes of your workforce and other organisations.