Alcohol and drug use costs workplaces


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.

These include:

  • 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.

Alcohol and drug use costs Australian businesses billions of dollars each year

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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