October 3, 2023

How Companies Can Benefit from a Drug-Free Workplace

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Substance abuse and dependence is an unfortunate and disheartening reality affecting Americans from all walks of life. Addiction is an equalizer that does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

According to the Surgeon General, 20.8 million people meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. This equates to nearly 8 percent of the country’s population and a huge portion of the American workforce, which has a real impact on U.S. companies.

The U.S. Department of Labor designates October 16-22 National Drug-Free Work Week, a great time for companies to develop drug-free workplace policies.

How Does Employee Substance Abuse Affect Employers?

Research is clear on the financial ramifications associated with workplace substance abuse, but a high price is also paid in human capital. When even one employee battles a substance use disorder (SUD), the entire organization is at risk.

Workers’ Compensation

When a worker has been injured as the result of alcohol or illicit drug abuse, employers could pay the price in their policy premiums. Unfortunately, when an employee has an SUD, they are also five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Medical Costs

Those who suffer from a substance use disorder are more likely to encounter costly medical conditions than their sober peers. According to a report from the National Safety Council, these employees cost an average of $1,852 more in healthcare premiums.

 

Unsafe Work Environment

Substance abuse comes with some well-known side effects, which add up to increased risks for workplace injury. Research has shown that employees with a SUD are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, presenting a risk to them and their co-workers.

Reduced Productivity

While their sober colleagues will have some less-productive days, overall day-to-day productivity of an addicted employee is typically 33 percent lower than their colleagues. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, this lack of productivity costs employers$49 billion each year.

What's the Benefit of a Drug-Free Work Culture?

The Nationwide Medical Review suggests seven transformative benefits a drug-free culture in the workplace can have:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Protection of investor or shareholder interests
  • Protection of loyal employees
  • Improved products and services
  • Better service to customers and clients
  • Increased profits
  • Improved employee health

 

How Can Companies Begin to Create a Drug-Free Work Environment?

Employers should implement workplace practices that encourage safe, healthy lifestyles and discourage behaviors that are counter-productive, both from a personal and business perspective.

Employers can protect themselves and their employees by taking these steps:

  • Recognize the impact of drug misuse on the bottom line.
  • Get a comprehensive drug-free workplace program or review an existing policy and program.
  • The substance abuse policy should be in writing and delivered to each employee. It should be signed and dated by the employee.
  • The policy should require post-accident drug-testing.
  • Drug testing should be completed within 24 hours of an accident.
  • Invest in an Employee Assistance Program.
  • Employ additional methods of drug-testing.
  • Ensure employees are being educated as the drug scene is constantly changing. Provide supervisors with the tools to effectively do their jobs.

 

How Does a Company Craft a Drug-Free Workplace Policy?

Having a drug-free workplace policy helps employers, employees, clients, and customers. Companies looking to create a drug-free workplace policy can find free resources and a sample policy on LWCC’s website here.

About LWCC

LWCC is a Champion of Louisiana business and proud to be headquartered in the state capital, Baton Rouge. As a model single-state, private mutual workers’ comp company, we promote safety, security, and stability in our state. LWCC is dedicated to excellence in execution from underwriting to life-long care of injured workers. We are proud to partner with our agents and together deliver outstanding service to policyholders and their workers. Our commitment is to be there for Louisiana. Always. Our mission is to help Louisiana thrive by bettering our state one business and one worker at a time. LWCC has been recognized by industry leading benchmarker, AON, and named to the Ward’s 50® group of top-performing insurance companies for achieving outstanding results in the areas of safety, consistency, and performance. For more information on the corporation and its services, please visit www.lwcc.com.

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