Drugs and alcohol in the workplace don’t mix


We all know that drugs and alcohol in the workplace can be a dangerous combination, but how dangerous is the mix? How do we measure the cost of the affects of drugs and alcohol in the workplace? How many people are coming to work under the influence?

Here are some facts about drugs and alcohol in the workplace that may surprise you… And may shock you!

  • In 2013, an Australian Drug Foundation report found that Australian workplaces were losing around $6 billion a year due to lost productivity and absenteeism, caused by drugs and alcohol.
  • The same report found that 5 per cent of workplace fatalities and approximately 11 per cent of workplaces injuries in Australia involve alcohol.
  • The cost of alcohol absenteeism – employees not going to work because they’re under the influence of alcohol or recovering from alcohol – is estimated to be between $500 million and $1.2 billion.
  • The Australian Drug Foundation estimates that in a year, around 11 million sick days are taken as a result of alcohol and drugs
  • Around 40% of people who participated in a recent survey admitted going to work tired, hungover or still feeling the affects of a big session of alcohol the night before.
  • Each and every workplace injury costs around $116,000 – whether it’s caused by drugs or alcohol, or not. This cost is borne by the workplace, the employee and the community.

The affect of drugs and alcohol in the workplace shouldn’t just be measured in dollars and cents, or in terms of safety, absenteeism and productivity. There’s also the human element – such as the pain, the grief and the affect on relationships and morale at work, at home and in the community. These effects are perhaps harder to measure but are no less costly.

How can you lower the potential costs of drugs and alcohol in the workplace?

The best starting point is a drug and alcohol policy, which clearly details aspects such as:

  • The responsibilities of both the employer and the employee
  • Drug testing procedures
  • Alcohol testing procedures
  • The consequences of failing a drug or alcohol test
  • Support for people with drug or alcohol issues
  • Education and training for employees on policy details and the dangers of drugs and alcohol

Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation
Drugs and alcohol in the workplace are a serous – and expensive – issue.

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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