Last fall I wrote a blog about drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, admitting at the outset that we don’t like to think about it. The concerns that prompted it have not changed; so let me repeat them:
* Workers’ Compensation: 38% to 50% of all Workers’ Compensation claims are related to substance abuse in the workplace. Substance abusers file three to five times as many claims.
* Medical Costs: Substance abusers incur 300% higher medical costs than non-abusers.
* Absenteeism: Substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days a year.
* Lost Productivity: Substance abusers are one-third less productive.
So to the reasons for our reluctance to open up what is for sure a can of putrid worms are pretty obvious . . . we won’t like what’s there. Another is that you’re saying to your people that you don’t trust them to do the right thing for themselves. And then there’s the money thing. A drug and alcohol testing program is not cheap, it requires time, effort, attention to detail, and follow-through; and, when all is said and done, it’s difficult to equate the value of the program to your P&L statement’s bottom line . . . after all, success is a matter of what isn’t there.
However, those are the very reasons you should have a substance abuse program, even if you’re not required to have one, and for that program to be effective it should include, at the very least, the following:
* Specimen collection
* Drug testing
* Confirmation on positive testing
* Employee Assistance Program
So I’d like to ask you again for your thoughts and experience with the subject. Last time I asked whether you see this as an important subject for the magazine to tackle, and if so, do you think a roundtable discussion with waste managers might be a good approach? Furthermore, would you be willing to participate?
I got less response than I hoped, so I’ll try again. If you are willing to participate, or if you have a better idea on how to proceed, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.