The concept of drug testing at work has been around for more than three decades, yet there are still people who surprisingly question its relevance or are simply not aware of its connection to workplace safety. Regardless of how you view it, drug testing for workplace safety is an essential part of looking out for the health, safety, and welfare of the workforce, and that statement is backed by the results of several studies which prove the connection between drug testing and workplace safety.
Number of workers’ compensation claims dropped
One of the more telling studies that clearly establish the connection between drug testing and workplace safety is the survey jointly conducted by the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in March 2011.
According to the survey’s findings, businesses that have previously registered high rates of workers’ compensation claims in the past now report a drop from 14 percent to 6 percent after drug and alcohol testing policies were implemented within the organisation.
The results of this survey certainly give credence to claims made by employers and HR managers that drug testing programs in the workplace can help lead to a lower rate of medical care, sick leave, and disability benefit claims and other employee injury- and illness-related costs.
Employees know drug abuse affects work
Much of the opposition to drug tests in the workplace is centred around their supposed encroaching on an employee’s right to privacy. While this is a valid argument, considering the number of laws that guarantee that right, some surveys reveal that employees are aware that substance abuse in the workplace has an adverse effect on their work-related activities.
A series of 14 state Gallup surveys of the attitudes of employees about drug abuse, for instance, reveals that the vast majority of the respondents say substance abuse at work either “greatly” or “somewhat” affect aspects of their performance at work. When asked if substance abuse negatively affects their attendance, 64 per cent answered in the affirmative. As for productivity, 63 percent said “yes.” The same figure was arrived at when asked how substance abuse affects their morale. When it comes to safety, 57 per cent of the respondents agree that drug abuse affects workplace safety.
Many employees favour drug testing for workplace safety
With the rather apparent connection between drug testing and workplace safety, it isn’t surprising that many employees actually support drug testing in the workplace. Another Gallup survey has revealed that a whopping 95 per cent of employees favour drug testing on workers who perform safety-sensitive jobs. Ninety-two per cent of the respondents also want drug testing to be done on health care workers. As for factory workers in general, 81 per cent of respondents want them tested for drugs. The number is lower for office workers, but it still represents a significant figure at 69 per cent.
The clear connection between drug testing and workplace safety should impress upon employers the need for such programs in their organisations. If you’re an employer and you still don’t have such a program in place, it’s high time you create one and demonstrate that you care not only about reducing occupational injuries and illnesses, but about your employees as well. To find out how we can help you drug testing for workplace safety, contact us for a confidential discussion today.