If you’re a workplace owner or manager, or a manager of a small or large team, you’re probably pretty good at reading your employees. You reckon you can tell when one of them is feeling under pressure, an employee is feeling sick, or when stresses away from the workplace are causing issues. You also think you could tell if one of your workers came to work under the influence… But can you?
As mentioned in a recent blog (see ‘Drug and alcohol testing – don’t stick your head in the sand’), 1 in 5 people have admitted to going to work under the influence of alcohol. Largely, this 20% of workers have got away with their transgression thanks in part to luck, but also because they don’t necessarily exhibit the signs we all associate with being over the limit.
A worker would stand out if they were staggering, unsteady on their feet, their speech was slurred or they were vomiting, but these aren’t the only symptoms of a person who is under the influence. In fact, and this is an important distinction, these are symptoms more associated wirth someone who is drunk. But you don’t need to be drunk to be under the influence of alcohol; you don’t need to be drunk to be a danger in the workplace.
So how can you tell if someone is under the influence?
You need to look for more subtle signs that aren’t normal for the specific individual. For some individuals, the symptoms might include being more irritated, argumentative, bad tempered or aggressive than normal. On the other hand, some people may be more friendly or exuberant than normal. Others may have trouble concentrating, want to drink more water than normal, or sweat unusually.
Therein lies the problem. The symptoms aren’t the same for each individual.
Workplace alcohol testing is the only way
The only true, accurate and reliable method of telling if one of your workers is under the influence is workplace alcohol testing. Utilising workplace alcohol testing, as part of an overall drug and alcohol management plan, is important to ensure your business is protected from the dangers of people coming to work under the influence.