01 Jul Reasons to Drug & Alcohol Test in the Workplace
All employees have the right to work in a safe environment, and a well implemented company Drug & Alcohol policy can help reduce the risks of accidents. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the workplace impairs the ability of an individual to carry out their duties. If the individual is in charge of heavy or dangerous machinery there is a genuine risk to the people around them. Even if substances are not taken whilst at work, effects from consuming drugs and alcohol outside working hours can last well into the following day. For example, the highest instances of alcohol detection is in a ‘morning after’ scenario, and the same could be said of drugs of abuse.
Having well planned drug and alcohol testing as part of a Drug & Alcohol policy ensures a safer workforce.
Hiring staff can be a risky business as, more often than not, you’ll only spend an hour or so with them before having to make a decision. Pre-employment drug tests can be especially useful in identifying any recent use or habits before they start to affect your business. Spending half an hour testing an individual will lower the chance of workplace accidents and save hours of human resource time going through disciplinary proceedings.
Lower Health Insurance Costs
Companies that have a well defined Drug and Alcohol policy that is enforced by screening programs often get a better rate of insurance. If the chances of drug and alcohol related accidents are reduced, so too will be the insurance that would normally be used to cover them.
Lower Staff Turnover
Again, workplace pre-employment checks will stop you bringing a problem individual into your business, so there is less chance you will have to remove them somewhere down the line. Having screening in place has been proven to act as a deterrent to use of drugs and alcohol that effects individuals during working hours.
A More Productive Workplace
Individuals who consume drugs and alcohol are more likely to be less productive than those who don’t. Fatigue and lack of cognitive performance can lead to lack of concentration and tasks not being completed, general inefficiency and potentially important details being inaccurate or missed. The longer something takes to be completed, the more it costs the business.
Reduced Recruitment Costs
As drug and alcohol abuse are deterred, staff retention is greater. This means that staff churn is less, and therefore, costs usually associated with recruiting are greatly reduced.
Lower Risk of Work Related Accidents
Employees are paid to perform the duties asked of them to the best possible standard within the scope of their abilities. However, being under the influence of a drug or alcohol means that focus and awareness suffer. Someone who is impaired when behind the wheel of a forklift or crane can be especially dangerous or fatal, not only for the operator of the machinery, but the people around them – from other work colleagues to the general public.
Less Conflict In The Workplace
Mood swings, higher absenteeism, lying, sloppy work, higher risk of accident. These are just a few potential issues that an employer can face as a result of a drug and alcohol user that goes unchecked. You could also expect there to be some conflict amongst colleagues as well. Whilst generally supportive of an individual who is trying to get over an addiction, covering shifts and doing someone else’s work can cause friction, pressure and frustration for those who just want to get on with their jobs and maintain their workflow.
A study found that Workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have injury-related absences. It’s no shock that high absenteeism can cost a business dearly, but as illness and general accidents can’t be avoided, absenteeism as a result from drug and alcohol abuse can.
Why Drug Testing at Work is Cost Effective
The cost of drug testing can be relatively low compared the massive costs that can occur if impairment at work goes undetected. Accidents, absenteeism, unusually high staff turnover and low worker productivity all add extra cost to the business which can lead into thousands if not managed and planned for in the correct way.