Substance Abuse in The Workplace


Cogbill Safety Tuesday March 09, 2021

Alcohol and drug abuse can be damaging to not only one’s personal life, but to his professional life as well. Alcohol and drug abuse can equally be damaging to employers as much as it is to the abuser.

To combat substance abuse, companies should enact thoughtful drug and alcohol policies and regulations. Such abuse can become an expensive problem for the business. Companies needs to weight the cost of the following when deciding whether or not they need to implement a drug and alcohol policy and the depth at which they should pursue this:

  • Injury

  • Damage

  • Loss of production

  • Absenteeism/tardiness

  • Poor decision making

  • Lack of attention and concentration

  • Loss of efficiency

  • Low morale

  • Vocal and physical disputes

A basic drug and alcohol abuse program usually includes the following general requirements:

1) The prohibition of using, selling or distributing alcohol or controlled substances on company or
customer property, on company time, in company vehicles, etc.

2) Testing: Companies usually conduct drug and alcohol testing pre-hiring, randomly, for cause (if one is suspected of being under the influence), post accidents, prior to performing specific hazardous jobs, etc.

3) Consequences: : A company would set what would occur if an employee violates its policy. Some have zero tolerance and as such a violator would be immediately terminated, while others offer a path to rehabilitation that includes suspension, periodic testing, mandatory rehab admission, etc.

4) Legal prescription drugs: : A policy that regulate the use of such drugs as pain killers, anti-depressants, etc., while on the job, which could include task restriction, limited exposure, and closer supervision.

From lost productivity to insurance claims, an alcohol and drug abuser can put a company in a poor financial situation. Keep your employees and your business safe by educating workers on the dangers of substance abuse as well as establishing a drug and alcohol policy.