Drug and alcohol testing costs a small price to pay


If you’ve thought about implementing drug and alcohol testing in your workplace, one of your key considerations is likely to be the cost and whether your business can afford it.

But if you really want to fully consider the costs you also need to think about the potential cost of NOT conducting drug and alcohol testing. For example, what will it cost if there’s an accident caused by a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol and someone is injured? What will it cost if someone is killed in an accident where drugs or alcohol was a factor?

Workplace injuries cost billions

Workplace injuries cost Australia billions each year. Safe Work Australia estimated the cost of workplace injuries to be $61.8 billion in the 2012-13 year, the latest period that this cost analysis was done. It’s a staggering figure and represented 4.1% of Australia’s gross domestic product or GDP for the same period.

While the methodology used to estimate the total cost is complex, it’s important to point out that the dollar figure doesn’t just include business costs, but reflects the total cost to employers, employees and the community.

Drug and alcohol misuse costs workplaces

While injuries and fatalities at work due to drugs and alcohol form only part of the $61.8 billion figure, other research into the misuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace has found:

  • Drug related workplace accidents cost approximately $1.3 billion each year, around half of which is borne by employers.
  • Alcohol and drugs costs Australian businesses around $2.9 billion each year from lost productivity and absenteeism.
  • Alcohol and drugs is a contributing factor in around 6 per cent of work-related fatalities in Victoria-alone.

What’s the potential cost to your workplace?

Which leaves us with the all important question of what could an accident in your workplace cost you?

While it’s difficult to work out the cost of each and every workplace injury – and it will obviously depend significantly on the severity of the injury – what we can say is that if one of your employees is seriously injured or killed, the impact on your bottom line is likely to be high.

And if alcohol or drugs is a factor, you’ll be asked some tough questions and face some potentially difficult legal complications. This will include a likely visit to the Coroner’s Court in the event of a fatality, where your workplace will be asked to show your policy for managing drugs and alcohol and how you act on and police this policy.

So when considering the cost of drug and alcohol testing, make sure you consider everything and you’ll likely agree that the cost of drug and alcohol testing is a small price to pay.

Note: When comparing the costs associated with drug and alcohol testing, don’t forget to check the add-on costs. As written in a post in 2014 (see Check add-ons for testing costs), not all providers include additional costs in their quotes. This means costs such as penalty rates for after hours testing, minimum test number requirements and administration fees may be missing from quotes, making a cheap quote expensive in practice. Integrity Sampling has an all-inclusive pricing structure, with no hidden extras. What we quote is what you will pay.

For more information on drug and alcohol testing costs, please contact Integrity Sampling.

While the cost of conducting drug and alcohol testing in your workplace isn’t cheap, the potential cost of not conducting drug and alcohol testing is a heck of a lot higher.

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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