Drugs and alcohol in the workplace


Drugs and alcohol are an issue in society in general, so there’s no surprise that it can also be an issue in the Australian workplace. So how big is the issue of drugs and alcohol in the workplace and what can be done about it?

Drugs and alcohol a significant workplace issue

While it’s difficult to exactly determine costs and other effects, clearly drugs and alcohol in the workplace is a significant issue:

  • ‘The societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia’ report from 2013 highlighted that alcohol misuse alone costs business around $6 billion in lost productivity each year. This doesn’t include the costs associated with other drugs.
  • The sickie is often joked about but it’s no laughing matter for business, with Australians taking approximately 2.5 million days off work each year due to alcohol and drug misuse.
  • One of the biggest issues of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace is safety. It’s estimated that drug-related workplace accidents alone cost businesses around $1.3 billion a year.
  • Globally, alcohol and drugs are factors in around 15% of work-related injuries.
  • One in 10 employees say they’ve experienced issues due to a co-worker who’s come to work after drinking alcohol or is affected by alcohol.

What you can do to protect your workplace from drugs and alcohol?

The issue can seem too large for a workplace to tackle and, as we’ve mentioned in the opener, this is a societal issue, not one that’s isolated to the workplace. However, workplaces are in fact an excellent environment to make an impact. You can make policies and procedures, and provide education to employees that can make a difference in the workplace, and also transfer in a small way to the community.

  • Start with a robust and detailed drug and alcohol management plan.
  • Ensure the plan lists the responsibilities of managers, supervisors and employees in relation to drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
  • Conduct drug and alcohol testing regularly in your workplace.
  • Provide education for employees about topics such as your drug and alcohol management plan, your testing and general information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
  • Support those employees with issues relating to drugs and alcohol.

For more information on any of the aspects listed above, phone Integrity Sampling on 1300 SALIVA.

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace is a significant 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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