A few days back a few of my friends were discussing alcohol and drugs at the workplace. They seemed to imagine that alcohol or drug abuse happened only outside and not in the workplace. Their argument was that the workplace consisted of individuals carefully selected after at least one interview and that the office was a ‘clean’ place. That Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace was an unnecessary waste of time and money1.
The logic amazed me. About 80% of us consume alcohol. We are not addicts but we do socially consume alcohol. Our alcohol consumption pattern may be brought out during an interview but I doubt it would disqualify us on that ground alone unless we admitted to being an alcohol and substance abuser or worse and I am sure better sense prevails in most of us. In other words, alcohol and substance abusers do not confess during an interview. This is one of the strongest reasons for having a Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace2.
Workplace is a Representation of our Society
A workplace is obviously a representation of the society we live in. People who work in offices, etc. are not aliens from another planet – they are drawn from the society we live in. If the society we live in has a sizeable percentage that likes alcohol or drugs or both, then logically, the workplace too will have a percentage of these people, hence Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace3.
The Silent Lot
Alcohol and substance abusers take care to ensure that their breath does not smell and give them away so unless they are so inhibited that they cannot function, chances are, there is one sitting a few feet from you in the office you work. I hope this convinces sceptics for the need for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace4.
An alcohol and substance abuser carries the risk of serious problems especially if he is working in a high-risk area such as factory floors where accidents will not only result in injuries or worse, they are seriously expensive and could lead to tremendous loss of productivity.
Statistics released by the Australian Government Indicate Requirement for Mandatory Drug and Alcohol testing at the Workplace:
- 6% of accidents at the workplace in South Australia, happened because one or more of the involved staff were under the influence of alcohol
- 3% of accidents at the workplace in South Australia, happened because one or more of the involved staff were under the influence of drugs
- Over one-tenth of work related injuries at the workplace were caused by alcohol consumption
- Australia annually loses $2.9 Billion due to loss of productivity and absenteeism caused by alcohol and drug consumption
- It is estimated that as many as 6% of Australians enter the workplace while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both.
With the government released statistics itself indicating that alcohol and substance abuse is widespread, I feel the time has come for mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace5.
If you need to introduce drug and alcohol testing to the workplace, please contact CMM Technology for quality testing devices. Telephone 618 9204 2500
Footnotes and references:
1. Sign and Symptoms of Alcohol and substance abusers: http://helpguide.org/mental/alcohol_abuse_alcoholism_signs_effects_treatment.htm
2. Alcohol consumption in society: http://peele.net/lib/sociocul.html
3. Alcohol and substance abusers in society: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm
4. Alcoholics at the workplace: http://www.addictionconsulting.com/handbook.htm
5. Statistics released by the Australian government: http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=153