The use of alcohol and drugs is costing workplaces billions of dollars each year, but the full extent may never be known.
Back in 2013, workplace drug and alcohol experts Dr Ken Pidd and Professor Ann Roche estimated the bill for Australian workplaces was $5.2 billion a year due to alcohol and drug use. Last year, a National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction report put the cost at $5.2 billion for productivity and an extra $3 billion in absenteeism.
While some of costs of alcohol and drug use are apparent – for example alcohol use is responsible for five per cent of Australian workplace deaths and up to 11 per cent of other injuries – the costs in lost productivity and absenteeism are hidden in many businesses and difficult to accurately estimate. After all, not many employees will put their hand up to say they are having a sick day because they got drunk or took illicit drugs the day before!
Protect your business from alcohol and drug use
While most businesses are exposed to the risk of accidents, lost productivity and absenteeism due to alcohol and drug use, there are steps businesses can and should take to protect themselves.
- Having a drug and alcohol management policy that’s tailored to your businesses.
- Educate employees about drugs and alcohol, and your drug and alcohol management policy.
- Provide support and treatment services for employees who need help to deal with drug and alcohol issues.
- Conduct drug testing and alcohol testing to ensure compliance.
- Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your business’ program.