Workplaces implement a drug testing service for a variety of reasons. Usually, they approach testing because they have been forced by circumstances to do so. They might have discovered evidence that there is use in the workplace. They might be compelled in certain industries (such as construction) to conduct drug testing.
By far the best reason to engage in testing is because your organisation has decided to get ahead of all of these issues before they arise (and believe us, they are almost certainly waiting to arise!).
Factors driving a strategy to test will include evidence of use in the workplace or legislative requirements for some industries but should also include risk factors around safety, concerns around productivity indicators, moral or ethical perceptions, societal prevalence of drugs in certain communities, industry data and many other issues.
Let’s talk about some of these.
There are various competing data over different times for the impact of drugs and alcohol on workplace safety. A key study in 2006, found that around 5% of Australian workplace deaths and up to 11% of workplace accidents had alcohol as a contributing factor.
Drugs contribute to these statistics also. Depressants such as Cannabis lead to drowsiness and slower reaction times with obvious safety affects. Stimulants such as Ice and Speed initially lead to altered perceptions of time and space as well as aggression. During the withdrawal phase from these drugs, major short term depression is a common experience. Hallucinogens can lead to anxiety and panic.
None of these states of mind are helpful and certainly impact on the safety of the workplace both to the worker themselves, their co-workers and of course, to the general public.
The message is clear, Drug and Alcohol do not mix with safety in the workplace.
From a productivity perspective a number of studies have shown the increased impact of drugs and alcohol on absenteeism, turnover and management action to resolve disciplinary issues. Contact us for reference to some of these studies.
Testing has been shown in studies to reduce the incidence of drugs and alcohol and directly improve safety in the workplace. There is even data that indicates that the frequency of drug testing will impact directly on the number of injuries in the workplace.
This means that frequent and ongoing testing in a well designed AOD program has a very strong impact on improving the safety and productivity of a workplace.
To discuss any of the studies referenced or for a more detailed paper on testing and deterrence in the workplace or to discuss how we can assist in creating a compliant and effective program in your workplace, please contact us.