There is no such thing as a 100% safe working environment.
But, you can manipulate all of the controllable factors to increase the chance of providing a safe environment and decrease any threats before they become to big too contain.
One of the controllable factors of providing a safe working environment is to provide safety equipment. Work boots, helmets, adhering to proper building codes is a good place to start.
Effects of Substance Abuse on your Workforce
It is a known fact that the human element factor is the hardest to control than any other safety factor that you can put in place within your work premises.
The probability of incurring workplace accidents just multiplies when people are involved. Now, this can be brought about by a lot of other factors as well.
Other factors leading to work related accidents include:
- Irresponsible use of workplace equipment
- Lack of proper training on handling heavy machinery
All of these can be attributed as other causes. But, the more alarming reason for these workplace accidents occurring is because of substance abuse.
The Correlation of Substance Abuse and Workplace Accidents
Substance abuse in all its forms can wreak damage to any company regardless of the industry they’re in. It is your responsibility to promote vigilance across the board to spot this threat and nip it in the bud immediately.
There is an ongoing study of the direct correlation of workplace accidents and substance abuse. Initial results have shown that most of the accidents that happen in the workplace involved employees who were either under the influence of drugs and alcohol or had just recently ingested medication that indicated negative side effects which may include drowsiness.
In Australia, there is a growing threat of substance abuse and it has managed to invade almost all industries. The threat can be considered relative though as there is obviously more damage that can be incurred if the industry you’re in deals with heavy machineries than to be in an industry where the main role of the employees is to provide reports or documents.
Still, across the board, the effects of substance abuse in the work environment can be extremely damaging.
A document sent full of accounting errors has as much power to damage a business as a truck ploughing through a row of houses because the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Many Substances are Hazardous
In 2009, the Rand Corporation released a study with the emphasis on educating the public about the hazards of substance abuse in all its forms in the workplace. This was the article titled: “The Effects of Substance Use in the Workplace.”
This covered not only the most obvious dangerous substances that people are inclined to take but also those substances that one could accidentally ingest without being fully educated on the effects of the medication they take on their physical or mental states.
It points out the active and passive ingestion of substances that have a detrimental effect on any individual. Active ingestion of course pertains to the use of known drugs and alcohol. Whereas passive ingestion pertains to the use of medication that may have substances in them meant to relieve someone of the symptoms found in illnesses like cough, colds and fever.
Most of the over the counter drugs found in local pharmacies have contraindications stated on their packaging to inform people of negative side effects but these are usually ignored.
What Can You Do?
Put simply, your role is to ensure that the threats of substance abuse are minimised within your workplace.
The first step to eradicating a problem is to understand what it is and why it happens.
The 3 most popular substances Australians prefer are:
- In the 2014 NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), the use of Cannabis
This is based on the Statistics report done by the Australian Government in 2014.
How to conduct drug testing in the workplace
One way is to impose a regular Drug Testing and Physical Examination as part of the rules and regulations in the company. This can be linked to the healthcare benefits provided to your employees. This should be a mandatory practice if they are to continue enjoying the health benefits you provide. This will ensure that everyone is at peak physical health and
One of the dangers of doing this is the potential lawsuit from employees who believe they are specifically discriminated against and feel uncomfortable about undergoing such a process. To get around this, your procedure has to be truly random with the use of a random generator to provide an unbiased list of employees to undergo the process. You will also have to provide constant communication to the workforce that regular drug testing is going to be conducted with an advance notice given 24 to 48 hours before the actual process takes place.
Further steps and measures you can take are constantly educating the workforce of the dangers of substance abuse especially if they are operating heavy machinery. This serves as a constant reminder for your employees to assess the risks of partaking in these substances and also for them to be able to take responsibility for their actions.
What are the results you can expect from Drug Testing?
Drug free workplaces are 200% to 300% more efficient than in workplaces that have employees who are addicted to dangerous substances. This increases your manpower efficiency and also your company’s productivity in terms of work output.
Companies who have regular Annual Physical Examinations and Drug Testing have massively decreased workplace accidents.
On a final note: regular drug testing should be carried out in your workplace environment to decrease the chances of work related accidents from happening. It should be considered vital to the success of your company.
If you want to see positive results and a marked improvement in your workforce’ performance, conduct a drug test in the workplace now.