FACT: about 70% of all drug and alcohol abusers hold a job. Studies show just how prevalent substance abuse is in the workplace and how costly the effects of this are. Alcohol-impaired and drug-affected employees cause 40% of all on the job injuries. It cost employers up to a hundred billion dollars a year in lost time, health care, and workers’ compensation costs. That is seven thousand dollars per each alcohol-impaired and drug-affected worker annually!
It’s not surprising, therefore, that drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is becoming more commonplace, especially in health and safety-conscious industries. Government-regulated industries, such as transport and nuclear energy, and military contracting test all employees for drug and alcohol use. This is a requirement for those businesses to receive federal funds.
The Importance of a Drug-Free Workplace
Small businesses are also recognising the importance of a drug and alcohol-free workplace and not only as a hedge against increasing costs but of the decreased productivity and higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Other reasons include – to provide health & safety of employees and customers as well as to avoid potential negligence lawsuits. Construction workers, sales personnel, food preparation staff, bartenders, waiters, labourers and machine operators are amongst those workers who have the highest rates of illicit drug and alcohol use.
Employers are widening the drug and alcohol testing scope. It starts with pre-employment testing and then moving onto random or annual testing. Next is post-incident and reasonable suspicion testing. Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing is done as part of the hiring process and typically occurs after a job offer has been made, but before the applicant is added to the payroll. An employer will initiate reasonable suspicion testing if there is a valid reason to request it, particularly when the appearance or behaviour of an employee indicates drug and alcohol abuse. Post-incident testing after an incident is also conducted if there is evidence suggesting that an employee responsible for the accident was under the influence.
Various Types and Testing Costs
There are various types of tests used to test for drugs and alcohol. One common one is a screening of urine. This type of testing typically screens for cannabinoids, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates and phencyclidine. They can also be extended testing screens for ethanol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, hallucinogens and inhalants. Cannabis is the most frequently detected illicit drug in workplace drug testing. Employers cannot force employees to take a drug and alcohol test. Still, they can, in turn, refuse to hire, terminate employment or demote an employee. They can deny employment, disability and workers’ compensation benefits as well.
Drug and alcohol testing costs may vary. The average cost for onsite drug and alcohol testing is $80. The tester will perform by testing the entire workforce or at random. For an incident or accident, drug and alcohol testing cost an average of $230. The tester usually attends your workplace immediately.
For more info, please feel free to browse by clicking here.