Alcohol, Drugs and Employment: Why they don’t mix

Alcohol and drug use and abuse have always been an issue worldwide. In addition, their increasing availability has made it an even more challenging problem to tackle. When dealing with a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, its effects on that individual’s behaviour and awareness are the main issues. Moreover, impaired judgment, coordination, motor functions and increased drowsiness are some of the general effects one could have when under the influence of substances. In most cases, one could see the same kind of impairments when observing people at a bar. However, this type of behaviour should never be allowed in the workplace. Hence, alcohol, drugs and employment would never make a good mix because of the disruptive state one could be in when under the influence. 

To prevent alcohol, drugs and employment from mixing, companies should set a proper workplace drug and alcohol policy that includes drug and alcohol testing. Furthermore, with the help of BACtrack workplace breathalysers at Breathalysers Australia, alcohol breath testing in the workplace will be as cost-efficient and effective as possible.

Alcohol, Drugs and Employment: How They Affect the Workplace

An employee suffering from alcohol or drug use and abuse could significantly affect a company’s productivity and efficiency. Keeping in mind that they could easily disrupt their coworkers and colleagues with their behaviour and lack of work output. Even just one employee working under the influence of drugs or alcohol could significantly affect the balance of the workplace. Alcohol, drugs and employment are not good for any company that want a stable workforce. As employers, it could be helpful to be mindful of these signs that could point toward employee substance abuse:

  • Increased absenteeism. Particularly absences without prior notification and excessive use of sick days.
  • Frequent disappearances from the workplace area. Having long, unexplained absences that have improbable excuses.
  • Becoming more unreliable in keeping appointments and meeting deadlines.
  • Inconsistent work performance. Alternates between high and low work productivity or output.
  • Increased workplace accidents or incidents (whether on and off the job site).
  • Increased workplace errors. It can be attributable to more inattention, poor judgment or bad decisions from the employee.
  • Difficulty concentrating or recalling details and instructions. Employees generally act more confused.
  • Employees require more time and effort, even for ordinary or simple tasks.
  • Developing increased hostilities with interpersonal relations (whether coworkers or superiors).
  • Neglecting responsibility for errors or oversights in the work they output.
  • Continuous deterioration in their personal appearance and hygiene.
  • Preferring isolation (whether personal or professional).
  • Increased signs of hangovers while in the workplace.
  • Showing physical symptoms of tiredness, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, slurred speech or unsteady balance.


Alcohol, Drugs and Employment: Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy

With several disadvantages in mind, alcohol, drugs and employment should never be allowed to coincide. But with its increasing prevalence, it would lead companies to believe that maintaining a strict drug and alcohol policy is essential to prevent disruption from their employees with substance abuse in the workplace. Moreover, the law legally requires employers to provide their workers with a safe and healthy working environment. A workplace drug and alcohol policy makes it clear to all employees what the company’s stand is against substance misuse in the work environment. However, it should also outline the goal and objectives of the policy, which should have workplace health and safety as its number one priority. In addition, it is essential to specify the roles and responsibilities of everybody in the workplace with regard to the drug and alcohol policy. Specify who will be the one to:

  • Monitor and evaluate employee work performances
  • Report incidents and concerns regarding the possibility of substance abuse among workers
  • Investigate and document reports concerning incidents
  • Approach the employee who may be dealing with drug and alcohol use and abuse in the workplace
  • Impose disciplinary actions or measures
  • Refer proven employees with substance abuse to counselling or rehabilitation
  • Keep records and documents (make sure to impose proper confidentiality)
  • Evaluate and review the workplace drug and alcohol policy for possible improvement (be sure to let everybody involved know if there are any changes to the policy)

Alcohol, Drugs and Employment: Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Not seriously taking the relationship between alcohol, drugs and employment could also prove to be a substantial financial burden for any company or business. Despite being highly qualified, a lack of proper testing and screening when hiring an individual who might have an addiction to alcohol or drugs may still have more drawbacks than advantages. Disadvantages like affecting the workplace culture are a notion one should not take likely. The individual in question may also influence their coworkers, which can easily have a massive setback as more and more employees start to underperform. 

Maintaining a separation between alcohol, drugs and employment should be one of any company’s top priorities. Providing a drug and alcohol-free environment for their employees will also improve their health and safety within the workplace. Increased security and decreased working environment risks would lead to fewer health insurance issues and a more stress-free workforce. Frequent drug and alcohol testing, as defined in the workplace drug and alcohol policy, can achieve a healthy work environment. So, as long as the proper guidelines for testing are in place. Some employees find drug and alcohol testing a breath in their privacy. Thus, it is important for the policy to clearly state all testing procedures. Breath tests through a workplace breathalyser from Breathalysers Australia is a common procedure typically stated in a workplace alcohol policy. 

Guidelines for Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

  • Outline the purpose of drug and alcohol testing
  • Present the type of tests (pre-employment, random, post-incident/accident, targeted, etc.)
  • Outline the testing procedures involved
  • Schedule of testing
  • Who will conduct the testing
  • Where test samples are to be stored, handled or disposed
  • Confidentiality of test results
  • Procedures following a positive test result, including disciplinary actions (if any)
  • Consequences of refusing to take a test, especially if agreed upon prior to hiring
  • The legal rights of employees and employers concerning the drug and alcohol policy
  • Process for any grievances or complaints employees may have
  • How test results will be reviewed and conveyed by the employer


BACtrack Workplace Breathalysers at Breathalysers Australia

Alcohol, drugs and employment should never mix and implementing a comprehensive workplace drug and alcohol policy containing procedures for testing can prevent this. However, to conduct drug and alcohol testing efficiently in the workplace, employers should consider high-quality and effective devices. Breathalysers Australia offers a variety of BACtrack workplace breathalysers suited for fast and reliable alcohol breath testing. These devices have an advanced fuel cell sensor technology that is police-grade accurate. Moreover, with the one-button operation feature that most BACtrack breathalysers have, continuous back-to-back breath testing is quick and easy. BACtrack breathalysers can process Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) results within 10 to 15 seconds. These features are beneficial for industries that require high-volume testing that needs absolute accuracy with their results. Thus, investing in BACtrack workplace breathalysers available at Breathalysers Australia can definitely aid companies that are in need of reliable breath testers.