The Effects of Alcohol in the Workplace

According to the Australian Medical Association, alcohol was the second highest contributing factor of disease and injury to Australian males under the age of 45 in 20031. Almost one in ten adults drinks alcohol on a daily basis, presenting a possible liability in the workplace. While the legal implications are obvious, the effects of alcohol and other substance abuse on the workforce extend beyond legal responsibility.

Alcohol and drugs are known to contribute to a higher rate of absenteeism in the workplace as well as the time required for workers to recover from alcohol and drug related accidents. The cost of these accidents is weighted by the loss of productivity as well as worker’s compensation claims and becomes extremely expensive. In 1988 and 1989 in the Northern Territory alone, alcohol caused an estimated industry wide $61.94 million in lost productivity when time off and worker’s compensation were taken into account2.

Without even considering the legal implications of not having a drug and alcohol testing policy in place, it is evident that alcohol abuse alone is a threat to productivity and the lives of employees. Alcohol contributes to 16% of all drug related deaths in Australia2. Considering the fact that almost one in ten men in Australia drinks on a daily basis and one in seven drinks excessively at least one time per week1, investing in an alcohol and drug testing policy can pay for itself when you weigh the possible costs your company may face without one.

Alcohol related accidents in the workplace also provide possible legal troubles that vary, depending on local regulations. Fines for failure to take measures to prevent possible workplace accidents can result in substantial fines and costly settlements for the families of an employee who has been harmed as the result of a drug or alcohol related incident. When you examine the cost of litigation; both on your time as well as the harm to productivity, it is much more cost effective to invest in a drug and alcohol testing policy so that you are able to protect your company as well as your employees. Keeping your workers healthy and safe will go a long way to reaping the rewards of an effective drug and alcohol testing strategy.

To find out more about CMM Technology’s drug testing products and how we can protect your employees and company, please contact us at +618-9204-2500 or email us at info@cmm.com.au .

References

1 http://ama.com.au/node/4762

2 http://www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/health_promotion/bushbook/volume2/chap1/problems.htm

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