Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

If you’re a business owner or manage a business, are you concerned about the impact that drugs and alcohol could have on your workplace?

There are reasons to be concerned, particularly if your business needs to take safety seriously. For example, if you work in the aviation, transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture or construction industries, where safety is a high priority.

That’s because statistics and research show that drugs and alcohol can have a severe impact on your workplace if left unmanaged. For example:

  • One in 20 Australian employees have admitted to coming to work under the influence of alcohol.
  • Eleven per cent of workplace accidents and injuries can be attributed to alcohol use.
  • Alcohol-related absenteeism costs Australia business around $2 billion each year.
  • Drug-related workplace accidents cost approximately $1.3 billion each year. Around half of this cost is borne by Australian employers.
  • Drugs and alcohol combined cost Australian businesses around $2.9 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism.
  • Drugs and alcohol are contributing factors in around six per cent of work-related fatalities in Victoria alone.
  • 17 per cent of employees have admitted to using illegal drugs at some stage in their lives. Many people have admitted to using illegal drugs at work.
  • Around a third of all Australian workers have reported experiencing negative effects from a colleague’s use of alcohol.
  • In total, drugs and alcohol cost Australian workplaces around $5.2 billion a year.

The impact of drugs and alcohol on your business can be significant. It can be seen in reduced productivity and quality, increased absenteeism, poor safety, poor work culture and relationships, and more. Potentially, in the case of a serious accident where drugs or alcohol are involved, it could also result in the business facing large fines and jail terms for key people involved, including you!

Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation 

How can you protect you and your business?

Drug and alcohol policy

The first step in protecting your business from the scourge of drugs and alcohol is to develop a drug and alcohol policy. A robust and detailed policy specifically developed for your business can help reduce the risk of drugs and alcohol in your workplace.

However, developing a policy alone is not enough. It can be left on the shelf to gather dust. You need to promote the policy to your employees and revisit the policy regularly.

Education

As alluded to above, education of your employees is vital. Most employees want to do the right thing and providing information on drug and alcohol use can help to ensure that all employees are aware of the issues and can take steps to manage the risks.

As well as providing general information on drugs and alcohol, it’s also important to provide education on your drug and alcohol policy, so employees understand the key details and the steps you are taking to improve safety.

Workplace drug and alcohol testing

Conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing is a vital part of drug and alcohol efforts for any safety-focussed workplace. Testing is not about catching people doing the wrong thing and handing out punishment, it’s about improving safety and identifying issues before they cause harm.

There are several different testing modalities you can employ, including random testing, testing after an accident or near miss, testing when an employee’s fitness for work is under question and pre-employment testing.

Support

It’s important to provide support for people who are having issues with drugs and alcohol. This support doesn’t need to be internal. You can make use of the many excellent external providers, such as First Step.

Integrity Sampling can help protect your business from the issues of drugs in the workplace
Integrity Sampling can help protect your business from the issues of drugs in the workplace

Get help from Integrity Sampling

Integrity Sampling can help businesses with all aspects of workplace drug and alcohol management. We can help you develop a robust and detailed drug and alcohol policy, provide education for your employees and conduct workplace drug and alcohol testing.

To discuss your needs, phone Integrity Sampling on 1300 725 482, or submit your details in the contact form on this page and we’ll get in touch with you.

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