Being aware: drugs in the workplace

healthcare costs – including workers compensation, reduce overall productivity, and statistics show drug and alcohol abusers to be ten times more likely of taking time off work. It is safe to say that minimizing drugs in the workplace should be at the forefront of a company’s foundation to avoid detrimental costs. Promoting a safe, healthy, and responsible atmosphere for workers to operate in is an easy first step for the drugs in the workplace fight. The United States Department of Labor estimated in 2005 that of the 17.2 million drug abusers in the US, 12.9 million were employed either full or part time. In addition, 10 to 20% of workers who died on the job tested positive for alcohol or other drugs. Such dismal facts bring to light the necessity for companies to host drug prevention programs to help minimize drugs in the workplace. Through drug prevention programs, companies can not only promote a more wholesome life, but can also reduce worker’s compensation insurance premiums with simple state certification. Further, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 provides federal grant incentives for companies that help reduce drugs in the workplace. An individual grantee faces less extensive requirements in meeting with the Act’s standards in contrast to an organization which generally has to incorporate much more programmatic steps to achieve a drug-free workplace. To minimize drugs in the workplace and receive economic incentives, companies will practice Drug Free Workplace Programs: about 90% of large companies practice some form of the program. Certification requires the grantee to abide by a long list of protocol. Such protocol include a timely publication within the company notifying employees that the “unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the grantee’s workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibition.” Other protocol includes drug-free awareness programs to inform employees about the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace, the grantee’s policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace, any available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs, and the penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace. One of the mainstays of a prevention program will likely be the drug testing of all employees – both prior to employment and randomly during employment. While such measures are currently utilized the most in specific industries – such as those where employees are using heavy and dangerous machinery – the positive consequences of incorporating drug testing in any company are obvious – drugs in the workplace hinder productivity, inhibit wholesome living and can cost the company a lot of money. While the main criticism of introducing drug testing program is due to costs involved, the initial costs will be far outweighed by the long term financial benefit. No company can afford litigation – which is often the result should a drug user disrupt the workplace, or worse – harm another employee. Find out how you can protect yourself, your company and your employees further by getting in touch with Mind Your Business, Inc. today!]]>

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