Safety in the workplace is a top priority for all employers. It shouldn’t be top of mind for only those who have employees working in conditions that include potentially hazardous materials or heavy-equipment management. There are safety concerns every employer should have because they affect every workplace.
For example, smoke and fire evacuation and even air quality must adhere to specific standards. This is why all employers should be aware of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety requirements that specifically define employer requirements to ensure the safety of their workforce.
Substance Abuse on the Job
According to the National Drug-Free Alliance, 9.5 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 have either used alcohol or illegal drugs shortly before working hours or are currently substance dependent. The highest percentage of reported abusers work in hospitality and food service, construction and mining, general manufacturing and transportation. In many circumstances, substance abusers are operating cumbersome and dangerous equipment that can result in disaster and strict liability for the employer.
Drug and alcohol abuse is both the leading cause of absences and tardiness in the workplace and a primary cause of work-related accidents and death. Moreover, drug and alcohol problems negatively impact the morale of coworkers, which substantially reduces productivity. As a result, turnover becomes a huge problem for companies that deal with rampant drug and alcohol abuse.
Create a Drug-Free Workplace Policy
To create a safer work environment and to achieve higher employee morale, companies should institute a drug-free program designed to eliminate workplace drug abuse. The program should include an explicit statement of purpose, educational programs, random drug testing implementation, counseling, remedies and, potentially, punishments for violators.
Partner with a Professional Drug Testing Company
Employers should seek the services of an expert drug testing company with experience in developing drug-free work environments to assist in developing and implementing a drug-free workplace program. These companies can even provide employee seminars and orientations that educate them on their employer’s commitment to a safer workplace for all.
Companies like USAMDT (USA Mobile Drug Testing) of Northeast Ohio are certified and comply with Department of Transportation drug and alcohol testing procedures. These companies provide consulting along with policy development, program implementation, random selection and preparation for DOT compliance and audits.
Advantages of Random On-Site Drug Testing
To be used in tandem with a proactive drug-free workplace policy, random on-site drug testing is the single most essential solution for eliminating substance abuse in the workplace.
These are some of the advantages random on-site sampling has over making employees travel to a remote drug laboratory for testing:
- It’s unannounced, which means employees aren’t alerted to an upcoming test.
- Samples cannot be altered or substituted.
- Employees may be tested at any time.
- It eliminates the liability of employees having an accident on the way to a remote lab.
- It doesn’t require a supervisor to accompany the employee to the lab.
- It minimizes workplace disruption since sampling only takes minutes.
- Using it pre-employment can eliminate potential future abuse issues.
Improve the Quality of Your Workforce
Substance abuse in the workplace negatively affects the morale of all employees. When a company eliminates the problems associated with substance abuse, the overall working environment improves and productivity increases. Substance abusers who have sought education and rehabilitation become productive members of the workforce and undoubtedly improve the quality of their personal lives.
Improved employee morale reflects positively on the reputation of a company. Customers will likely perceive improvements in quality, customer service and professionalism.