Let’s face the facts: a lot of American workers are misusing alcohol or illegal drugs.
In 2016, an estimated 28.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users. 70% of these users have full-time or part-time jobs. This does not include people with an alcohol addiction.
Around 60% of employees said drug use hurts company insurance costs, safety rates, attendance, productivity, and morale. Again, this is what employees, not employers, reported.
It’s clear that workplaces suffer when employees use drugs. This article will highlight 10 ways workplace drug testing can help.
1. Reduced Injury/Fatality Rate
Employees who come to work while intoxicated or high are a safety risk to themselves and others.
35% of ER patients with workplace injuries were at-risk for alcohol addiction. 16% of these patients were intoxicated when they were injured.
Accident rates decrease when workplace drug testing is used. It only makes sense that employees are less likely to use substances when they know they can be tested at any time. They’re less likely to use if they could lose their jobs.
2. Reduced Legal Liability
Employees under the influence of a substance are at risk to cause accidents. This is a danger to everyone in the workplace. If an accident occurs and other employees are injured, the company is legally responsible. The business may even be sued.
Also, employers are responsible for paying worker compensation claims for workplace accidents. An employer may not have to pay if they can prove the employee was under the influence of a substance. However, the claim process is time-consuming and expensive.
If employees are regularly tested, they are less likely to come to work impaired. They are then less likely to get into an accident. The company can also show that they did everything they could to keep the workplace safe.
3. Better Attendance/Punctuality
Workers with alcohol problems are almost 3 times more likely to miss work because of alcohol-related injuries.
Drug testing at work gives employees a reason not to use. If they’re not using, they will not feel sick and call off. They will also not accidentally injure themselves in their off hours.
A side effect of substance use is exhaustion and difficulty sleeping. Workers who do not use are more likely to be on time to work. They will also not sleep at work.
4. Higher Productivity/Efficiency
People who are abusing alcohol or drugs are often still having symptoms of last night’s adventures even if they are no longer intoxicated. This makes it difficult to focus and pay attention to their work.
People who are hung-over often have problems staying awake at work. If you can’t even keep your eyes open, getting anything done becomes impossible.
There are also many employees who drink or get high before going to work. These employees are even more impaired and unable to function at the expected level.
Workplace drug testing can give an incentive for these employees to not use before they have to work.
5. Lower Theft/Illegal Activity Rate
Employees who use substances often have money problems, particularly people with expensive addictions. Stealing or selling drugs solves these problems.
The workplace can be used for both. Employees with drug problems may steal from the company itself. They may also take things from co-workers’ lockers.
Regularly checking employees for substance use helps them stay clean. This means they do not need extra cash. Workplaces have reported that drug testing reduces their theft rates.
6. Co-Worker Relationships
One side effect of many substances and hangovers is irritability. No one wants an irritable co-worker!
Other substances cause users to be aggressive, which you definitely don’t want at work!
Drug tests at work reduce the number of people using. The less people who use, the better co-workers can communicate and get along. Employees will be much happier if they can focus on their job and not worry about who’s not in a good mood today.
7. Higher Morale
An unsafe workplace is not a happy workplace. If employees see an intoxicated person operating a dangerous machine, they are not going to feel safe or happy.
Also, remember those grumpy, aggressive co-workers? It’s hard to enjoy your job when the people around you are not at their best.
Workplace drug testing lets employees know that their employer cares about their safety. It also makes the work environment more pleasant.
8. Lower Turn-Over Rates
Hiring and training new employees costs a lot of money. It’s best to do it as little as possible.
Employees who use substances typically have problems maintaining employment. They quit and move around frequently.
Workplaces should give drug tests before hiring people. This lets employers make sure their employees are a little more reliable. They will hopefully stay around longer too.
Also, we will discuss later how employers can help drug-users get treatment. Once a person finishes treatment, they can then continue as an employee. This will also reduce the costs of hiring and training a new employee.
9. Reduced Use of Insurance Benefits
After addiction treatment, health payments go down. These savings actually cover the cost of treatment itself.
People who are using drugs often have more health complications than other employees. Drugs themselves are bad for your health. People also take dangerous risks when under the influence.
Workplaces with drug treatment/prevention programs have healthier employees and employee families. This decreases the use of medical benefits.
10. Workplace Drug Testing Helps Employees
The main concern about workplace drug testing is that drug-users will be fired. This is not always true though.
Many companies often pay for employees to enter treatment at the company’s expense. It is cheaper to keep trained, competent employees than to try to hire someone new.
Employee Assistance Programs also provide counseling for people and their families. These programs can greatly help people with substance abuse issues.
Many drug-testing programs also include drug education through posters or workshops. These give information to employees about the dangers and risks of drug use. This can help those who are already using. It may also prevent some people from starting to use in the first place.
Workplace drug testing allows employers to identify their employees who need help. It also helps them to provide information to employees who may not need help yet.
Workplace drug testing helps employers save money by having productive and long-term employees. It also helps workers to feel safe, happy, and to find help when they need it.
Interested in creating a workplace drug testing policy? Check out this article.
Read more articles on workplace drug testing