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When employers institute & implement drug testing programs, they can create a strong deterrent against substance abuse in the workplace. While periodic drug testing programs cover the entire workforce, random drug screening programs cover a ‘random set’ of workers. In either case, workers know they will get caught if they use illegal substances or prescription medications.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drug use costs U.S. businesses to the tune of $140 billion per year. This cost includes high turnover rates for workers who abuse drugs Methamphetamine, Heroin, Cocaine, and Ecstasy.
Organizations worldwide are implementing drug-screening policies to weed out workers who abuse drugs while on the job or during off-hours at home. Even businesses that aren’t legally required to screen new hires or existing workers for drug use are now keen to discourage and prevent workplace drug abuse.
Here in this post, we will discuss the top five benefits of a drug-free workplace
Reduce Workers’ Compensation Claims & Premiums
Workers’ compensation insurance covers your workers if they are injured or get sick while on the job. Your organization is likely to spend more on workers’ compensation claims and premiums if workplace drug abuse goes unchecked.
A weak immune system is characteristic of chronic drug use. If you have chronic drug users in your workforce, they are likely to claim medical expenses more often.
When you implement a drug screening program and successfully reduce drug-use among workers, your organization has to shell out less money for workers’ compensation claims.
In some jurisdictions, employers get a discount on workers’ compensation premiums if they implement drug-free workplace programs. For instance, employers in states such as Washington, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Virginia can receive 5% to 10% credit (a type of insurance incentive) under state-specific drug-free workplace programs.
In the United States, drug abuse in the workplace costs employers around $25 Billion each year due to:
- Lost productivity
Various studies have demonstrated the correlation between reduced productivity and the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.
Employees who routinely use drugs are often late to work and have difficulty concentrating or trouble completing various work tasks. In a drug-free workplace, employees are naturally more productive.
Workers who abuse drugs –
- Are often found missing from their seats
- Are often found absent from the worksite for no reason
- Call in ‘sick’ too often
While many workers call in sick after a weekend party, drug users quickly emerge as repeat offenders. On such occasions, suspicion-based drug tests can be administered to make sure a worker isn’t sick or absent too often due to drug abuse.
A drug-free workplace is indeed a safer workplace. This holds for not just organizations engaged in construction, transportation, and other such activities but also in the case of traditional businesses.
After all, a higher percentage of drug users are employed. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 70% of Americans who abuse drugs are employed (full-time or part-time). So, regardless of the nature of the business, there’s a good chance that some employees are currently using illicit substances, marijuana, or prescription medication.
Workers under the influence of drugs are a threat to themselves, their co-workers, and the public. Lack of concentration, a momentary lapse of judgment, and poor decision-making can result in injuries and even death.
The risk of workplace accidents is higher if a worker operates heavy machinery or uses sharp tools when under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medication.
A drug testing policy not only discourages active drug use but also helps employers determine if workers involved in a workplace accident were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s commonly referred to as post-accident drug screening and involves testing of urine or blood samples.
Demonstrate to Your Employees That You Care About Them
Professionals, who do not use drugs, prefer to work in a drug-free environment. When you have a drug-free workplace, it goes on to prove that you have a vested interest in the health and safety of all employees, customers, and the general public.
The company management and employees work in harmony to achieve shared goals when there are healthy relationships in the workplace. A drug-free workplace is one of the best ways to promote such relationships.
Improve Your Organization’s Reputation
When you actively discourage drug abuse in the workplace, your organization is practically sending out the message that it cares.
After implementing pre-employment drug screening alone, you will come across fewer candidates who test positive for different drugs. Once people know your organization conducts applicant drug testing, drug-addicts are far less likely to consider applying.
Thefts in the workplace or violent altercations and toxic relationships amongst workers are not directly associated with workplace drug abuse. Drug users are more likely to be involved in heated arguments or have poor relationships with co-workers or customers.
The benefits of a drug-free workplace far outweigh the cost. With the availability of multi-panel drug testing kits, it is now possible to detect many different drugs at one go.
This is the reason why millions of small, medium and large scale businesses all over the world are now keen to screen job applicants or existing workers for drug use.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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