Last updated: February 24, 2020
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 66 percent of people with substance abuse issues, over the age of 18, are employed.
While drug testing should be seen as a means to minimize workplace risks, many businesses do not conduct any type of screening. One of the reasons the screenings do not occur are costs.
However, the costs of not screening employees for drugs can far outweigh any of the financial costs of drug screening. Here are some of the benefits of employee drug testing.
Fewer Workplace Accidents
Employees who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and fatalities. This especially holds true if the employee is responsible for operating heavy machinery or vehicles. Businesses that do not drug test experience high rates of worker’s compensation claims than those that do not. The testing may not stop employees from using drugs. However, by implementing drug testing, you are able to decrease the chances of employees showing up to work while under the influence.
Reduced Insurance Costs
Substances abusers are more likely to incur medical costs than a person who does not abuse drugs. Employees that come into work under the influence of drugs and alcohol may cause accidents that will increase the costs associated with insurance. Drug testing lowers accident rates, thereby decreasing the cost of liability insurance. Depending on the nature of the business, some insurers will not provide coverage for claims when it cannot be proven that the workplace is drug free.
There is a good chance that employees with drug issues are more likely to take more days off from work. According to a Working Partners, National Conference Report, substance abusers are likely to be absent for more than 8 days during the year. Not only does this mean that the company will spend money paying for sick days, it also means losing money due to decreased productivity. Companies that have implemented drug testing saw absenteeism decrease by 50%.
There is a correlation between workers that abuse drugs and productivity. Employees that show up to work under the influence are not going to work at full capacity. As a matter of fact, their productivity level is 33 percent lower than other employees. These employees, if the show up, are also more likely to come to work late. Businesses spend thousands of dollars compensating employees that underperform. Testing for substances will help businesses see around a 20 percent increase in productivity.
There is a good chance that employees know who is a drug user and who is not. Some employees may not feel comfortable working with someone with substance abuse issues. There may also be morale issues when productive employees have to pick up the workload for those who are not carrying their weight.
On its surface, drug testing may seem like another expenditure. The monetary costs of not drug testing employees exceed the costs of testing. When employees know they may be tested, the cost of their substance abuse on the company decreases. Not only do costs decrease, businesses may find themselves hiring better quality employees as a result of their drug testing policies.