Each year, workplace drug abuse is estimated to cost employers $81 billion.
A joint study is being coordinated by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). The study aims to address worker impairment from the use of drugs such as marijuana.
“Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana and two states have approved its recreational use by adults,” said AAOHN President Pam Carter, RN. “With growing advocacy, other states seem ready to follow. Mainly because of such rapid change, both of our associations believe it is time to address workplace health and safety concerns when workers have impaired functioning from this and other drugs.”
Businesses can easily become subject to financial disadvantage via drug abuse and addiction of staff members, and their family members. As such, a business can face a loss of productivity, increased absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft, and low staff morale. In some cases, a business can encounter health care cost increases, legal liabilities and the cost of workers’ compensation.
Signs of Workplace Drug Abuse
There are a number of signs that indicate someone may be a drug user. Employers should be aware of the following:
- Decline in job performance, or quality inconsistency
- Poor concentration and a lack of focus
- Increased absence
- Disappearance from the workplace site
- Careless, misguided errors in judgement
- Risk-taking or poor decision making
- Safety disregard
- Avoidance of co-workers and friends
- Deterioration in appearance and personal hygiene
ACOEM President, Ron Leoppke stated, “Marijuana is being viewed as a relatively harmless substance, but this may be a misconception by those who may be unaware of workplace safety issues that can arise when workers are under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.”
Workplace Drug and Alcohol Awareness Training
You can educate your staff on the affect of drug and alcohol mismanagement by adding a course to your workplace induction system. Your course should encourage self reporting of drug abuse. Rapid Induct, online induction and training software, includes a pre-written Drug and Alcohol Awareness training course for immediate issue to your employees and contractors.
The reporting of incidents is also an important part of risk management (including drug and alcohol risk management). Bring light to patterns of behaviour that might alert management to drug and alcohol abuse, by tracking and reporting workplace incidents via incident management software such as Rapid Incident Reporting.